DayBreaks for 10/31/16 – Forgiveness and Present Realities
From the DayBreaks archive, October 2006:
NOTE: Galen is taking a short vacation.
Psalm 79:8-9 – Oh, do not hold us guilty for our former sins! Let your tenderhearted mercies quickly meet our needs, for we are brought low to the dust. Help us, O God of our salvation! Help us for the honor of your name. Oh, save us and forgive our sins for the sake of your name.”
As I read and meditated on this passage, I found it interesting that David pleads with God to not hold us guilty of former sins. What about the present ones? What about all our future ones still waiting to be born?
Surely, the plea is that God not hold us guilty at all, for we haven’t committed present or future sins yet – and at some point they will all be “former” sins – certain when we stand in judgment they will all be former! Yet in a way, I suppose that we can only ask for forgiveness for the things that we have done – not for things we may yet do. Our confession should be specific. We cannot confess the truthful, yet painful, details of sins we’ve not yet committed.
The Psalmist makes no claim to deserve such favor from God, only holding on to the “tenderhearted mercies” that belong to God, which David is confident will be quickly poured out to meet the needs of those who have humbled themselves. Interestingly, his plea for God’s help is not for our sake or benefit, nor is it because we deserve it, but for the honor of God’s name. Have you thought about how it would look if the Lord’s people are destitute forever, if there is no relief from the guilt and shame of sin, no ultimate vindication for those who cling to their faith like a drowning man holds to a piece of wood? If such were the case, why would anyone want to be a follower, to be able to say “O God of OUR salvation”? At some point, salvation must become a much more present reality than the way we experience it today, else there is nothing to draw us to it. So, it is for the sake of the Lord’s name that we pray for His mercy to be poured out.
The day will come when the present reality is, pure and simple, the eternal reality. At that time, all my sins will be in the past, already forgiven. As I struggle through this life, that truth gives me strength to face another day full of hope and reassurance.
I am far too prone to see the benefits of God’s mercy and forgiveness and favor for my own benefit and comfort. I need to learn to seek his mercies for the sake of His name. How often do my reactions to unpleasant things in this life dishonor his name? If I truly learn to celebrate His mercies for His name’s sake, I’ll be much better off and He will be glorified.
PRAYER: Father, sometimes it is hard to believe that You forgive us so freely, for we know that there is nothing in us that could cause You to love and forgive us. Help us to understand that You forgive us for Your own honor and sake, and that regardless of Your motive in forgiving us, that Your forgiveness is real and eternal. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.