Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Psalm 38

I wonder how close you feel to God today. Whether you're on the mountain top or i the valley. Whether you had a really good quiet time and drove to lunch in the sunshine listening to Christian music, or whether you're fresh out of an argument, haven't read the Bible in days and keep tripping over the same sin habit.

I think judging our 'closeness' to God in the way we feel is probably one of the Devil's best weapons. Our feelings betray us and let us down. They rob us of joy in life, courage in prayer and passion in worship. Never mind robbing us of courage in prayer, they probably stop us praying all together. How...HOW can i speak to God, how can i approach God after what i've just said, what i've just done. I said it would never happen again, and it did. How can He want to hear from me now?

We can approach with confidence by Christ's blood, our righteousness is sat at the Father's right hand never to be moved...so does that minimise our sin, does that mean that when we pray we can gloss over it? Not according to Psalm 38.

David is searingly honest in this Psalm. He feels like arrows have sunk into him, like the very hand of God Himself is upon him in wrath. His flesh has no soundness, his burden is too heavy, his wounds sink and fester, he is bowed down, he's filled with burning, he is feeble and crushed. Why? Verse 3 tells us...David tells us it was because of his sin. Because of David's sin he felt like this. Maybe this was when he was on the run from Absalom, maybe shortly after he'd sinned with Bathsheba, but whatever it was, he knew why he felt this way. His sin. That might have been the end of the matter, no one can pray when they feel like that can they? How can God listen to David when he has sinned and felt like this about it? Why does David even think he could?

Verse 9 reminds us that God knows anyway, 'all my longing is before you, my sighing is not hidden from you,' and it probably wasn't a surprise to Him in the first place? So why does David pray? He knows that the Lord will answer, He knows that as he waits, God will answer him. He knows that his only hope, God's grace is his only hope. His hope is not found in glossing over his sin, it's found in waiting a while and hoping that God will cool off before he goes to Him in prayer. He knows his prayers depends on God's never ending steadfast love, they rely on God's grace. Not on hiding away, not on waiting, but on God. God who never changes.

David repents and asks for help against his foes. This time human foes who sought after him because of his sin, these friends who had left him and let him down. But he remembers one thing. He remembers God. He remembers God's steadfast love, he remembers that the law speaks of God's grace, he remembers that as vile as his sin is, God's substitutionary love is greater, deeper. He remembered that, in a way, he probably didn't understand, his sin would sit on his throne forever.

So how close do you feel to God today? I'm not sure it matters. What matters is the Gospel. The Gospel which tells us that your righteousness is safe in Heaven, which tells us that yes, our sin is awful, but yes God's steadfast love can be relied upon. It's great to know that we can come to God with our hands up and say 'yes God, my sin is awful, but i run to you because i know you are my only hope.' How close are we to God? Through Jesus, as close as opening our mouths and speaking.

1 comment:

tjhilton said...

A very helpful post, thanks. So often I feel like my status before God depends on my recent treatment of Him rather than His sacrifice for me. It's always good to be reminded it's all about Jesus!