Sunday, June 25, 2017

What is Confession and What Does It Look Like?

Psalm 38

A psalm of David. A petition.

Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
    or discipline me in your wrath.
Your arrows have pierced me,
    and your hand has come down on me.
Because of your wrath there is no health in my body;
    there is no soundness in my bones because of my sin.
My guilt has overwhelmed me
    like a burden too heavy to bear.
My wounds fester and are loathsome
    because of my sinful folly.
I am bowed down and brought very low;
    all day long I go about mourning.
My back is filled with searing pain;
    there is no health in my body.
I am feeble and utterly crushed;
    I groan in anguish of heart.

This is one of several psalms David wrote which are called "penitential psalms".  Though David was a man after God's own heart, there are times in his life where he fell short of God's of glory.  Like Paul says in Romans 3:22, "We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." 

But though we all sin, some acknowledge their sin and others don't. Some get so used to sinning that they are indifferent to it.  As Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:2, "Their consciences have been seared."  Paul is teaching about the end times in this passage, when Christians will not listen to God's Word anymore, but can sin without "blinking an eye". But we see that David's response and sensitivity to sin is much different.

David describes the physical, emotional and spiritual consequences of his moral failing.  David feels the burden of guilt, and it weighs him down so much that he is brought very low. So much so that  his back is searing with pain.  Courageously He admits his sin and does not blame anyone else. He realizes that it is God's hand that is upon him.  Rather than running from God, he turns to God.  In the end David's plea to God is, 

"Lord, do not forsake me;
    do not be far from me, my God.
22 Come quickly to help me,
    my Lord and my Savior."

Though David is beside himself in light of his sin, he knows there is nowhere else to turn. His family and friends have abandoned him, and he knows his only relief can come from His Lord and Savior.  We know that David rebounded from his sinful ways to become the greatest king in Israel's history.  But it all started with his being honest with God about his sin, feeling the weight of it, and owning that he and he alone was responsible for it.  Finally, he turned and cried out to God, asking for his help and His presence to sustain him.  And God was faithful to David until the end of his life.

Have you ever felt this way?  Maybe not to the same extent as David, but still when you have fallen away from or rebelled against God, you suffered the results of a broken relationship with God.  When the Holy Spirit pokes and prods us to remind us of our sin, we can do one of two things. One, blow it off and say something like, "Well I am not so bad!" Or, "I am not as bad as so and so!"  Or we can respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and cry out to God realizing that it is He alone that we have offended.  When we realie it is God we are sinning against and no one else, we feel the sorrow of sin which leads us to repentance  As we respond to the Holy Spirit and receive God's forgiveness through Christ our hearts are changed from the inside out which is the fuel for the change of behavior that accompaines true repentance.  

What do you need to confess to God today?  Don't be afraid to cry out to God like David did, knowing that he will never leave or forsake you. On the contrary, times of refreshing will come upon your soul.  Your relationship with God can be restored, and you can feel once again the joy of your salvation!  Praise be to God!

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