8 Minute Read
TODAY’S BIBLE READING:
1 Kings 9:1–10:29
TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
Psalm 130:1 (CSB): “Out of the depths I call to you, LORD!”
REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
Pain can be a blessing.
Some may scratch their head in bewilderment at that statement, but it’s true. God has given us the gift of pain because it motivates us to move to a place where we no longer feel that pain.
For instance, if you put your hand on a hot skillet, your brain immediately tells your hand to let go! Pain motivated you to act quickly because if you didn’t, you would do serious damage to your hand.
I once had serious pain in my abdominal area. I put up with it for a few hours but then decided that I needed to go to the emergency room. I soon found out that I had acute appendicitis. My pain motivated me to undergo surgery to fix the problem.
So, we see that pain can be good. It is the red flare that gets shot into the sky that lets us know that something is wrong. It also motivates us to do something to fix the problem.
This truth is definitely applicable to spiritual pain. If things are not right in our hearts, it can cause such discomfort that it motivates us to go looking for a remedy. When the pain we feel is guilt, we are motivated to fall at the foot of the cross to find relief.
Let’s spend the remainder of our time reading through Psalm 130. Let’s notice the disquiet within the soul of the writer but also realize that the pain he feels motivated him to find a place of relief – ultimately in the Lord.
Psalm 130:1-2 (CSB): “Out of the depths I call to you, LORD! Lord, listen to my voice; let your ears be attentive to my cry for help.”
In these words, we learn some things about the Psalmist and about prayer.
First, we learn that we can and should be brutally honest in our prayers. We need to get rid of the platitudes and phony language we might use in prayer. Instead, we need to be ruggedly honest about what’s going on in our mind and heart. The Psalmist did this and so should we.
But, we also learn about the Psalmist. We hear him crying for help “out of the depths.” As we read the rest of the Psalm, we realize that he was experiencing the guilt and consequences of some unknown sin.
Once again, we realize that pain (in whatever form it takes) can be a good thing if it motivates us to address a problem. The Psalmist’s guilt was good because it motivated him to look for the cure.
His words lead us to believe that he may have been going through a deep depression. But, if that is what it took to get him motivated to find grace, forgiveness, and relief, then it was worth it.
Psalm 130:3-4 (CSB): “LORD, if you kept an account of iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that you may be revered.”
In these two verses, we hear the Psalmist acknowledge God’s holiness and grace.
God is holy. This means that He is utterly set apart from sin. Further, it means that He cannot allow sin into His presence. Finally, it means that He must punish everyone who is sinful. So, the Psalmist acknowledged that if God had not created a way in which the legal guilt of sin could be eradicated, then every single person would be under God’s fierce judgment. “LORD, if you kept an account of iniquities, Lord, who could stand?
But, God is also gracious. The Psalmist acknowledged that “with you there is forgiveness.” The legal guilt of sin could be eradicated leading to a release of the feelings of guilt. In the Old Testament, they had the animal sacrificial system which pointed to the ultimate and final “animal” sacrifice (Jesus is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! [John 1:29]).
Notice, my friend, that the feelings of guilt (verse 1-2) preceded the Psalmist’s talk of how that guilt could be eradicated. This the Pain Principle. We must typically experience pain before we are motivated to find the remedy. So, it is good if we feel guilty over sin because that motivates us to find grace, love, forgiveness, relief, and release at the foot of the cross.
Psalm 130:5-6 (CSB): “I wait for the LORD; I wait and put my hope in his word. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning—more than watchmen for the morning.”
Here, the Psalmist is looking for evidence that God’s judgment has been replaced with His favor. Just as God must punish the sinner, it is also true that God will be gracious to the one who repents.
Where was the Psalmist’s faith resting? Where did he get the notion that God’s judgment would stop when repentance took place?
We see the answer in verse 5: “I wait and put my hope in his word.” The Psalmist was resting his faith in the fact that God would forgive and be gracious to His people because this is what God had always previously done in Scripture.
Psalm 130:7-8 (CSB): “Israel, put your hope in the LORD. For there is faithful love with the LORD, and with him is redemption in abundance. And he will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.”
Someone once said that “Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.” We find love, grace, and forgiveness in Jesus and so we tell others how they can find it, too.
That is essentially what the Psalmist is doing in verses 7-8. He had experienced God’s forgiveness and the release of his guilt. So, he was calling upon the nation of Israel to go to the Lord to find the same forgiveness and the release of guilt.
Pain, specifically the guilt of sin, can be a good thing. It can motivate us to look for a way to get rid of the guilt. If it drives us to the cross where we find grace and forgiveness, then it is worth it.
So, don’t live with guilt, friend. Definitely, don’t try to suppress the feelings of guilt. Allow the pain of guilt to motivate you to find forgiveness at the cross.