“For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
blessed is the one who trusts in you!”
Here’s a passage that one could camp on for a long time and still learn something new. This Psalm describes the joy of the pilgrimage to the temple where the Israelites could stand in the presence of God. It describes how even the desert is a pleasure simply because the destination is rewarding. So rewarding, in fact, that we recognize this well-known verse:
v. 10 For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the
house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
We are in a much better position than those Israelites because our Lord lives inside of us. We don’t need to travel anywhere to enjoy being in the presence of God. This is no small benefit, my friends. Let’s look at a bit of Hebrews to help settle this some.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
10:19-22 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
I know I walk around far too much not fully appreciating this last line: my heart is clean from an evil conscience and my body is washed with pure water. This is something Jesus did for me. I’m not doing it for him. I really need to get my head around that because I fail to appreciate his work. Instead, I walk around with a GUILTY conscience which prevents me from drawing near to God “with a true heart in full assurance of faith.”
It’s a head thing. Furthermore, there is a stench of something trying to sabotage me. Indeed, Satan is trying to destroy my witness and make me ineffective for the kingdom. As I examine myself, I realize that I have not been going over my armor. I have not been standing firm. I have not been resisting the devil so that he will flee. Furthermore, all this – a combination of Satan and my own stinkin’ thinkin’ – has prevented me from drawing near to my Lord. Is it any wonder that I have times that I don’t seem to have any joy or peace?
So I have sinned. I find it impossible to rid myself of it. Should that matter one bit? It will if I try to find strength in my own might. But, if I get my head right that Jesus came to forgive the very sin I commit, then I can realize just how big of a deal all this is. My past sin has been forgiven in full. Done deal there. But, it’s not just the past sin that has been forgiven. My sin today doesn’t catch God off guard. He already knows about today’s sin. Furthermore, he already knows about tomorrow’s sin. Past, present, and future, all three were already known and forgiven at the moment of my salvation. More than that, before the foundation of the world.
You see, the longer I keep focusing on my efforts to escape from sin, the more my sin engulfs me. Sin is far more powerful than we imagine. In fact, there is only one thing that is more powerful that that – the blood of Jesus. It’s not just a little bit more powerful than sin, but INFINITELY more powerful. So much so that God makes it clear to us in his Word that nothing can separate us from his love. Nothing.
It’s interesting to find out today that this Psalm is about a journey to the temple. I didn’t realize that before. It’s interesting because I have been writing about the journey to heaven. There is no temple there, you know, because in heaven God dwells with us. The Holy Spirit inside us now is “the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it.” (Eph. 1:14) I’m sure back in the times of the Israelites, some found the desert difficult on their journey to the temple. Perhaps they had to encourage each other to keep all these things in their proper perspective so that they could rejoice on their pilgrimage.
So, too, it is for us who are on the Way of Holiness. Speaking for myself, anyway, I need to get my head screwed on right from time to time. I need the word of God to encourage me. I need others to encourage me as well. And, you know what? I need to be that encouragement for others, as well.
Folks, Jesus has cleansed your heart. Today, you might very well be beaten down by your sin. If you are indeed born-again, cast out that mindset by throwing yourself at the foot of the cross. Jesus already paid for all your sin. You are no worse in his eyes, nor can you ever be, than he already knew when he paid your sin debt in full. He knew exactly what he was buying. It’s one thing to recognize your sin and make things right (if even possible) with those you have harmed. It’s quite another to be discouraged with a guilty conscience. That’s not part of the package. Make it a point to seek this understanding so that you rejoice in your forgiveness!
When’s the last time you went out of your way to tell others that Jesus has forgiven you? Can you think of a better thing to do today than to get your head and attitude into this? Rally your spirit so that you simply explode in the favor and mercy that God has granted you.
No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
Walk like God intends for you – forgiven and clean. Uprightly. Relish in this and delight yourself in the Lord!
Father, thank you for screwing my head on right today. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers