Today’s Readings: click here – Psalm 130; Genesis 45:16-28; Matthew 8:1-13 (to open the scripture links – hover over, right click, open hyperlink)
Our scriptures today come together woven in a common thread – ‘the assurance of God’s forgiveness.’ One of God’s greatest of many promises is ‘the forgiveness of our sins’, but it is two-fold, requiring something from us; our hearts to love, trust and believe God for who He is, as our creator and Heavenly Father and our awareness of our sins to confess and repent of them. Throughout the Old Testament, God promises forgiveness with unwavering faith and hefty disciplines for those who love and trust Him, obey and follow the disciplines to receive His unconditional love and abundant grace and mercy. It wasn’t easy then and it isn’t easy today either, as we face temptation, deception and accusations daily by the enemy, who comes to steal and destroy, when our faith is weak, we can so easily and unknowingly be misled and become defenseless under attack.
Psalm 130 opens with a personal testimony of God’s rescue from the depths of one’s guilt and shame, marked by an awareness of sin and a powerful assurance of forgiveness. . Here we can identify what the psalmist expresses; his desire towards God (v. 1, 2), his repentance before God (v. 3, 4), his attendance upon God (v. 5, 6), and his expectations from God (v. 7, 8). We find comfort in the freedom of forgiveness we experience through Jesus Christ, who suffered and died on the cross for each and every sin, yours and mine.
Our Genesis passage underlines the merciful forgiveness that Joseph had for his unfaithful and cruel brothers when they came to Egypt to find help from the famine, only to discover that he was governor of all the land of Egypt. This is the same gracious forgiveness that Jesus has for us when we trust, believe and seek Him. God washes us with His goodness even when we mess up and fall short of His glory, because He loves us that much and even more than we could ever imagine, and that is a promising assurance to cling to.
Confessing our sins to God is an act of worship, and like many of the Psalms, in our reading today, we can be comforted in the depths of our despair as we cry out, compelling us to confess our sins, receive God’s mercy, forgiveness and redemption. God does not keep a record of our sins, nor set limits or thresholds, or even hold a grudge when our heart weeps for His favor, love and blessings over us.
Matthew’s message in our reading today, gleans the universal theme that Jesus’ message, especially forgiveness, is for everyone. As I read it, it brought to mind what we are experiencing today with this pandemic, with quarantine, isolation, separation, fear, and even anxiety, just as the lepers experienced. Like leprosy, covid or any other disease without a cure, sin is also like an incurable disease – and we all have it. Just like the leper, we first must recognize our inability to cure ourselves and ask for Jesus’ healing through the forgiveness of our sins as our mind, body and spirit are renewed. This is freedom at its finest. Who wouldn’t want this freedom, this healing, this restoration? Jesus, who is our gateway to our heavenly Father and works fully on our behalf, wants to draw near to each of us. We just have to choose to draw near to him and we will begin to see things through the lens of faith in action. Call upon Jesus today and everyday, seeking forgiveness of our sinful human nature, letting faith take root, love abound, and healing begin.
Enjoy a few songs – let them speak to your heart today with prayerful thought and meditation.
Prayer: Lord, I call out your name from the depths of my own despair, heartache, doubt and sin. Wash me clean with your blood shed from the cross, with your love flowing through my veins, I find comfort, healing and a renewed faith. You are loving and faithful, and I trust in you to care for me in every way. I give of myself freely to you Jesus, for the renewing of my mind, body and spirit, today, tomorrow and always. You are my rock and my foundation where I stand firmly in your arms. AMEN.