God’s mercy is great. It’s His amazing mercy that compassionately addresses our plight and wretchedness as broken human beings here on earth. For only God can forgive and cleanse sinful man when we fall short of His standard.(Which is very often) And it’s only God that can forgive us of our willful defiance, and disobedience directed towards Him. But it is only through a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus, that we can attain this Divine forgiveness.
Throughout the book, Ezekiel did not mince words when denouncing the rampant idolatry around him…comparing it to infidelity and prostitution. He also didn’t curb his words, accusing the Jews of being stubborn, self-righteous, and rebellious. It got to the point of alienation that God Himself said, “No, I won’t listen to you anymore.” The people were putting their trust in created things like gold and silver… but God warned all that, “Gold and silver will not be able to save them in the day of the Lord’s wrath.” (Ezekiel 7:19)
As King Solomon so wisely observed in Ecclesiastes 7:20, ” There isn’t a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” So to be naive enough to claim we are without sin is only deceiving ourselves and no one else. (I John 1:8) It all boils down to our will vs God’s will in our life…and the decisions we make everyday to either do what He commands or exert our rebellious free will in pride and disobedience.
It’s not God that loads us down with guilt and shame about our past. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. For it tells us in Psalm 103: 8-13, “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” It’s only God’s merciful kindness towards us that takes our sins and throws them all into the Sea of Forgetfulness. It’s only us that dredge them back up and torture ourselves with them.
Let’s get this straight…God does not tempt us. Instead, our own evil desires do a really good job of that. And it’s when we allow our own deceptive imaginings to fester and grow, that sin has a foothold. You might call this day-dreaming…part pleasant reverie, part suggestive fantasy…but all of it giving rise to deception and lies in our thought life. And whenever you allow your day-dreaming to “go there”…whatever that is for you, you’re being tempted to give in to sinful thinking. That’s when we need to stop and remember II Corinthians 10:5, which cautions us to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.
Are you bound up in the burial clothes of sin? Do addictions have you shackled to a life you hate? Do you long to be free of the things that have kept you from moving ahead? Then obey the command of Jesus, “Come out!” Yes, the decision is yours to make. You can remain wrapped up tightly in the burial clothes of sin, guilt and shame…or you can walk out of that grave you call your life today and live.
The 32 Psalm is called a Penitential psalm, where the writer, David, acknowledges his willful and rebellious acts of rejecting God’s authority. Within it David expresses his feelings of repentance and holy sorrow…asking God to forgive and remove his sin – and bless him. It goes on to say in verse 2 of this Chapter, “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.” We will be truly blessed of God when we come taking responsibility for our actions and asking for forgiveness.
When Jesus spoke of man’s corrupt, sinful nature He always addressed it in its ultimate result. For example, Jesus never warned us that we must not covet because it might lead to stealing…He said rather, You must not covet because it is stealing. The same goes for all the fleshly appetites and passions that come from our human nature. If you think it – Jesus says you’ve already done it in your heart…from lust to murder. For anytime we allow fantasy to fill our mind instead of truth, our flesh is winning.
I am my worst critic. I lie in bed at night annoyed with myself that I didn’t accomplish everything I should have. Or I’m aggravated at myself for not speaking up when I could have. I react with self-loathing as I play back the events of the day… as the “I should have, I could have, I would have’s” run in a loop through my mind. What’s so sad is… most times, I’m beating myself up over things no one else even knows about. They’re things that are only important to me…so why am I so perturbed? In a word…it’s guilt. Self-directed anger is fueled by guilt…and it doesn’t need to be guilt heaped on us from someone else…for we can do that all by ourselves! But this guilt-ridden self-anger can be changed by the last few words of this verse…for it says to “search your hearts and be silent. Selah” That means we listen and not speak, allowing the Holy Spirit to whisper truth into our heart and mind. It means then we pause and ponder these truths not allowing our mind to race negatively. It’s positive reinforcement, Holy Spirit style.