Do you ever read passages in the Bible like, "LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart..." (Psalm 15:1-2), and think, "Okay, I guess I'm out! I want to walk uprightly and work righteousness and speak truth in my heart, but if I'm honest, I don't think I do. In fact I think I fit in better with scriptures like Jeremiah 17:9,
"The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who
really knows how bad it is?" (NLT).
Do you ever feel this condemned feeling when you read scripture and think, "Where do I, a sinner, fit in the Bible? How can I apply these scriptures about righteousness to me?"
Well, I do. I know, that Jesus is my righteousness, but when I'm reading the Bible sometimes, I'm so overwhelmed with the requirement of righteousness I'm so obviously unable to meet that I forget what "Jesus is my righteousness" really means and how to appropriate it in my everyday life.
The other day, while continuing my thru-the-Bible-in-a-year readings (that are going to end up taking me 3 years at the rate I'm going), I came upon a treasure of a scripture. One of those key scriptures that literally unlocks the meaning to all those other ones that I just don't fit into.
It's Psalm 32:
A psalm of David. Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Interlude Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped
trying to hide them. I said to myself, "I will confess my rebellion to the
LORD." And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Therefore, let all the godly confess their rebellion to you while there is time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.
For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. The LORD says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise
you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control." Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the LORD. So rejoice in the LORD and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!"
In this passage I see how I, a rebellious sinner with a deceitful and wicked heart can be one of those righteous people who dwell in the Lord's holy hill.
How can I live a life in complete honesty? BY NOT REFUSING TO CONFESS MY SIN! Living an honest life is not living a sinless life, it is living a life that quickly confess and calls what God calls sin, sin in her life. For instance, when I gossip with my neighbor about something. For the seconds that that sin is hidden in my heart, I feel the weight of conviction, and, when I try to cover it with lies like, "I was just sharing a prayer request." Or, "I was just concerned about so and so." Or, "I just needed to vent to someone!"... when I do that, "my strength is evaporated like water." I'm lying on top of gossipping at such times. I'm not living an honest life. But when I, "confess my rebellion to the LORD," HE FORGIVES ME! When I just call it what He calls it, He doesn't reject me, He hides me in HIS righteousness and all my guilt is gone!
Oh HALLELUJAH!!! I found myself in the Bible! I can fit in here! I am one of those whose rebellion is forgiven, not because I'm sinless, but because I come to HIM just as I am and call my ways what He calls them... sin! I can't tell Jesus I'm sinless, but I can confess my sin to Him and trust in His righteousness to cover me!
Now when I read about those who are godly, or righteous, or those with integrity, or those who have pure hearts I can stick Psalm 32 in there and say, I am those beautiful names that I am not, because I am a rebellious one who's sin has been forgiven! And He who forgives me has made me godly, righteous, with integrity and pure of heart!
"This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their
righteousness is from Me," Says the Lord." Isaiah 54:17
Redeeming the time