March 14, 2014.
I feel bad because I almost forgot about posting today. It seems that I have a harder time remembering when I am on break as opposed to a structured schedule with things to do. Regardless, it gives me an opportunity to talk a little about something I have been thinking about recently. Forgiveness.
“The days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
and I turned away from them,
declares the Lord.
This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”
As you have probably heard many times before, our father in heaven is unbelieving forgiving. I don’t understand it, as I am but a man. Jesus told us to forgive our brother 490 times a day if he comes to you and ask for forgiveness. That is hard. But perhaps what is even harder is forgiving ourselves. We can see from the passage above, along with many other, the Father forgives our sins when we get up and try again, without fail. However, at times it is so hard for me to get up. I fail so often, so severely, and when I ask forgiveness, I just can’t fathom how he could. I am a man of unclean lips, from a people of unclean lips, as Isaiah would say. But he does; how can I learn to accept his forgiveness?
I think the first step would be a deeper understanding of grace. To be honest, I’ve heard about grace all my life, but I am not sure I ever learned just exactly what it is and what it means. Paul seemed to understand it very well, as he would call himself the chiefest of sinners who was saved though the grace of God. I want to study and learn more about grace, as I think it has been somewhat skewed and perhaps even cheapened by the religious world today. But then again, I am no authority to speak on it yet. Perhaps you could suggest some passages that deal with what grace is. When I study more, I will probably post about it. Until then, I leave to you and I to study the word more thoroughly.
The book of Hosea is a great book to read about the love God has for his people. There are three selected chapters in the suggested reading from Hosea, but if you want you can read more to get the context (I picked the happy chapters, the rest are God’s judgement on his people). In context, you see how God is harsh with their sins, but then laments over them for leaving him and says that he will not destroy them completely because of his love. For a preview I leave you with a small part of the lament, a verse I love:
“How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
How can I make you like Zeboyim?
My heart is changed within me;
all my compassion is aroused.”
May we all learn to accept his forgiveness. It is what makes us worthy to be children of the King.
Suggested Daily Reading: Hosea 3, 9, 11, Hebrews 8.
Hallelujah to the King of kings.