One of our fellow journeyers asked me how I chose the verses for each day’s devotional, so I thought more of you may be wondering the origin of these daily lessons.
Each day of the year there is a set of Scripture verses, called the Lectionary, that correspond to the church calendar. These specific verses are designed to be read at worship gatherings, and as part of individual daily devotional time. Each day includes readings from the Old Testament, Psalms, and New Testament. The Scriptures we have been studying are selected specifically for the Lenten season of the Church year and each day, I choose one to focus on. The daily Lectionary readings are listed in the digging deeper section of the devotional.
Read Psalm 51:3-4 (New Living Translation- below)
For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against You and You alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.
We are returning to Psalm 51 which has been part of the daily reading a number of times already during Lent. Remember the use of repletion in the Bible means there is added emphasis and importance. Maybe there is a reminder for us in this- a need to repeatedly come to this psalm of David’s as he sees the condition of his heart before a Perfect and Holy God, that we might better see ours.
Today we are going to focus on verse 3 & 4 specifically. I am going to peel back the “look-good layers”- mine are piled on thick sometimes, especially the “pride & hypocrisy” ones.
I like this translation: as it uses the word rebellion, rather than sin.
I am not saying that I am not a sinner, or that sin isn’t a serious issue. But, sometimes I think the word “Sin” can be overused and in its vast meanings, it loses a bit of the sting.
I mean, sin is serious!!
But how often do we really think about how we sin against God?
How often do you think or even pray, “I have done what is evil in your sight?”
I don’t end each day with a rehearsing of the “sins” I have committed because honestly, it is easy to dismiss or diminish the word sin, especially when I am thinking about whether or not I have broken any of the Ten Commandments or committed any of the “big ones.”
I mean I didn’t kill anybody today; maybe with my thoughts or words, but that is not the first thought that comes to mind when I think about my “sins” for the day.
But… rebellion… that is a word I am all too familiar with!
Looking at my heart and actions for the day in the light of rebellion against God stops me in my tracks!
There are NO lofty definitions or lists for me to hide behind!
When I read these verses and use the word rebellion… I am convicted at a personal level with my rebellions of the day playing across my mind like the big screen!
Of course my rebellion is sin, I just have been fooling myself, blinded by my own hypocrisy, into thinking, I haven’t been “that bad!” And then I read this translation and the “Sin floodlight” lit up my life:
- I was rebellious in my determination to “give someone a piece of my mind, in my refusal to turn the other cheek…
- I was rebellious in my impatience with another’s shortcomings and the difficulties they posed on MY schedule and plans (emphasis on MY not God’s plan).
- I was rebellious as I choose to fret and worry just a bit more, trying to organize the universe and/or control at least my life and the lives of those I love, rather than sink to my knees and cast my concerns on Him, and live free of worry… or walk in faith.
- I was rebellious as I choose to indulge in the second helping of dessert… “the sin of gluttony- no not me”… but rebellion about watching what I eat so I can stay healthy, fit and strong for the work & life God has called me to.. “well, when you put ti that way!”
- I was rebellion in my time management or lack thereof,
- I am rebellious with the way I allocate my financial resources… I really don’t need this new purse, and I did say I would watch the budget… but… it is one of a kind and is just the right size, has all the right pockets… maybe I do need it.
Can you relate?
When I look at these verses… the word rebellion makes me realize that I am a big bold, belligerent Sinner!
- All eager to go my own way, head strong and disobedient to the One I call Master and Lord- especially when it gets into the nitty gritty of living a disciplined, sacrificial life.
- I am good at justification, re-interpretation and can wiggle my way out of the big “sin” word blinded by my own hypocrisy
But, there is no wiggle room in this translation”
“I recognize my rebellion, it haunts me day and night. Against you, Lord God, to whom I have given my life, have I rebelled and thus against You, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.”
I felt like I got smacked in the face by my own foolishness as I read this translation and realized how often I brush over these verses. I am not making light of sin, I just make a really Big Deal out of GRACE and Forgiveness!
I think we should live a grace filled, forgiven and life of freedom in Christ. This is the wonder of the Gospel, the truth that makes each day bearable, each moment tinted with hints of Glory.
- I love Grace… I am in such Need of Grace! I want to wallow, soak and sink into Grace till I get pruny with it! After, living for years under the soul crushing, hope destroying, weight of self-condemnation and self contempt, God’s Grace gave me new life!
- I don’t believe in cheap grace. I am profoundly aware of what it cost Jesus… I think that is I why I love the wonder and awesomeness of Grace and am determined to live a life filled with it.
But reading these verses causes me to pause: I wonder if in the freedom of grace, I lost sight of the reality of how sinful I can be? If I began to white wash the actions, attitudes of my heart, postures of my mind, so the black mark of sin was diluted.
Simple, somewhat embarrassing answer: YES.
I got away from taking seriously the weight and reality of how my rebellions and wrongdoings are in fact just plain ugly old SIN.
And these verses today brought me back to this truth.
- It doesn’t matter how I package it, or what I call it… rebellion, disobedience, defiance, hypocrisy, pride…is really Sin against a good and loving Perfect and Holy God.
- I need Grace and Love Grace because I am such a sinner!
- I need continual pruning and conviction of the fact that my life, while infused and sustained by grace is littered with sin. No longer can I hide behind justifications, rationalizations or foolishness.
And there is only one response:
Repent, seek forgiveness and allow the blood of Christ to cover me, and wash me clean once again.
and humbly begin again…living in a place of honesty, humility…
Forgiven and Saved by Grace.
Questions to ponder:
What do you think of when you read verses about sin?
Do you ever categorize your sin as being not so bad?
How does this devotional shift or inform your understanding of sin, as an attitude of your heart as sell as behavior?
Do you struggle with self-condemnation? (and need to tear up this devotional and find one all about Grace and forgiveness in Christ- if so email me and we can talk.)
Do you live in the freedom of Grace and the rest of forgiveness?
- If so, What does that look like for you?
- If not, Why? What beliefs do you hold that keep you from being forgiven?
Read Psalm 51 in a number of different translations
Re-read Day 8 devotional on Psalm 51, AND dig into the Digging Deeper section.
Read the context for Psalm 51 – 2 Samuel 11- 2 Samuel 12:24
Daily Lectionary Readings:
Hosea 6:1-6, Psalm 51:3-4,18-21; Luke 18:9-14
If you want to read through the New Testament during Lent (about 1/2 hour a day)
Read on Day 25: 24-end