Christianity 201

March 27, 2023

Delivered from the Guilt of Sin

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:34 pm
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Today we’re thrilled to introduce another new writer to you. Rebecca L. Johnson has returned to her blog — tag line: Notes About Faith and Encouragement — with three posts this month after a nearly four year break. Her education includes Criminology with a dose of Theater, and she has one published book. I hope you find today’s devotional as interesting as we did. Click the title which follows and read this where it first appeared.

Context Matters

Case in Point: Psalm 32:7

Since the advent of commercializing Scripture into bite sized quotables, believers in Jesus have become more and more anesthetized to caring about the context of said Scriptures. I could point to a hundred or more examples, but this is one that I was guilty of extrapolating many years ago. The Lord has recently reminded me that in order to appreciate the sweet, we must often have to endure the ultra-sour. In order to understand the depth of His grace, we sometimes have to face the depths of despair and confront our own desperate need for His rescue.

This was highlighted for me in Psalm 32. My oldest daughter was born into a tempest as her biological father decided that he didn’t want the responsibility of being a father and so I found myself in the midst of a divorce during my pregnancy. I vowed that God would be the Father of my children and that earthly relationships of any intimate nature were a thing of the past. I got on my knees the night that he left us and handed the keys of my life and everything in it back to the Lord – You see I had been trying to control and manage my responses to external events in my own strength for about six years at that time without consulting the Lord, and my life felt like the tail end of a hurricane – I was done fighting. I had no strength left.

I searched the Scriptures for a Word that would bring comfort to myself and to my daughter specifically. I came across Psalm 32:7 “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” This sounds, and is, poetic, beautiful and hopeful. However, we don’t stop to ask ourselves what we are being delivered from. This is the entire text of Psalm 32 from the New International Version of Scripture (the spacing is owing to its poetic form):

Blessed is the one

Whose transgressions are forgiven,

Whose sins are covered.

Blessed is the one

Whose sin the LORD does not count against them

And in whose spirit is no deceit.

When I kept silent,

My bones wasted away

Through my groaning all day long.

For day and night

Your hand was heavy on me;

My strength was sapped

As in the heat of summer.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you

And did not cover up my iniquity.

I said, “I will confess

My transgressions to the LORD.”

And you forgave

The guilt of my sin.

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you

While you may be found;

Surely the rising of the mighty waters

Will not reach them.

You are my hiding place;

You will protect me from trouble

And surround me with songs of deliverance.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

Do not be like the horse or the mule,

Which have no understanding

But must be controlled by bit and bridle

Or they will not come to you.

Many are the woes of the wicked,

But the LORD’s unfailing love

Surrounds the one who trusts in him.

Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous;

Sing, all you who are upright in heart!

The introduction to this poem sets the stage for blessing then reveals the story. This person was weighed down by sin and struggles and had no strength left. THEN! Don’t you just love those transitional words?! It signals a turning point. “THEN I acknowledged my sin to you…” I came clean. I brought into the light what had been shrouded in darkness. I handed over all my broken pieces and confessed my shame. “AND You forgave…” Wow. The weight is lifted. The relationship is restored. You forgave…Me. I didn’t deserve it. I had nothing to bargain with. There was no good excuse for my waywardness, but You forgave me anyway! THEREFORE!

I have been remarried to an amazing man for over eighteen years now because God knew that I needed a running mate in this crazy life race, and my husband (the preacher and professor) likes to say “Always see what the ‘therefore’ is there for.” “THEREFORE” – in light of this information, because of what comes before this word – “Let the faithful pray to you while you may be found…”

The rising waters will not reach them – the faithful, those who have turned from their sin, confessed, and are no longer following their own desolate path. Those who are faithful to the LORD…They will be protected from drowning and surrounded with songs of deliverance. They will find the strength in God to fill their lungs with the breath supplied by the LORD and join Him in song!

To those of you who feel like you are being led around like cattle, or blown and tossed by the wind…To those who are still trying to go your own way, follow your own heart, or find your own path…The Bible doesn’t teach you that those things will lead to life or deliverance or truth or rest for your weary soul! The Bible teaches you to turn from all those cultural cliches and to obey what the LORD is telling you to do because He loves you and knows what is best for you… what will make you thrive and excel…what will bring you joy and peace…what will protect you and preserve you when everything else around you is falling apart.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NIV). Believe in the One who saves – His name is Jesus. Confess where you have tried to do things your own way instead of His way. Be forgiven. Then you are protected. Then you can sing!

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