“But with you there is forgiveness”
Our Psalms and Luke readings today link together to encourage us to think and live positively in a world that surrounds us with false values. There are times when these greatly affect us and they can threaten to be overwhelming. We have all had times when we have felt very disappointed with ourselves. These Psalms provide us with encouragement to trust and lean upon the Lord. Psalm 130 is an outstanding example:
“Out of the depths I cry to you O LORD … be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared” (verses 1-4).
Then the question arises, what counts as iniquities? In the days of Moses and ancient Israel the people would look to the Ten Commandments; but Jesus, as we read in Luke 6 today describes Christ-like behaviour as being much more than avoiding bad behaviour like stealing and committing adultery.
“But I say unto you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you …” (verses 27,28).
Then Jesus lays down what is often called ‘the golden rule’ saying,
“as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them” (verse 31).
It has always been our greatest challenge – to live more and more in the way God desires to see! David knew this.
Jesus came to spell it out in plain language. With gratitude we remember David’s words – and see his life as an example, for if we stumble off the narrow pathway that Jesus described, we can feel overwhelmed after we have read,
“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:14).
We therefore need more especially to remember David’s words that God is “feared” because with him “there is forgiveness”. He is not feared because he is an angry God, rather he is feared – ‘held in awe and in the deepest reverence’ – because he is a loving God.
Tomorrow’s Psalm 131 is specifically by David and he writes,
“O LORD, my heart is not lifted up … I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me” (verses 1,2).
When we can achieve this “… there is forgiveness”.