Friday, December 01, 2006

Sin and its Remedy--Psalm 119:25-32

This fourth section of the Psalm starts out with the cry "My soul cleaves to the dust!" What could make a believer feel this way? What would have this kind of affect and bring a believer to this state? From the context of these verses it is sin. Sin, you know what that is don't you? Maybe, or maybe not! Sin, the enemy of man that seeks to master him (Genesis 4:7), and the cause of his death (Genesis 2:16-17). It doesn't get mentioned in our churches much any more as the pendulum of the church culture has swung hard toward a "positive christianity". To preach on sin is a faux pas in our comfort driven church culture because we don't want to make the people feel bad for fear they won't come back or will go somewhere else. In fact, we have even renamed sin as it is now called a poor choice, a bad decision, falling down, failure, or a problem. You know, you can do all of these and still not sin, so to call sin any one of these is to lessen what it really is, and what it really does.

I John 1:8 tells us that all of us, as believers, still sin. So by not preaching on it, people in the church today are ignorant of their sin and how to deal with it, and the results are disasterous in their lives and in the life of the church. Even though the church today takes sin lightly, God does not, and never has. God hates sin and will not leave it undealt with in His children, His people who are called by His name, but because of His goodness and His faithfulness He has given us a way to deal with sin, any sin, not just for the moment, but for everday. So let's see what He tells us in this section of Psalm 119.

25. My soul cleaves to the dust-
Unconfessed sin in the life of the believer always brings oppression. Look at Psalm 32:3-7. See what is going on with the Psalmist. His body is wasting away. He is groaning all night. His vitality was drained away. Why was all of this happening to him? The Lord's hand was heavy upon him. Why was the Lord's hand heavy upon him? He was keeping silent, not dealing with his sin. Look at Isaiah 30:18-20. Here we see God giving the bread of privation and the water of oppression to His people. Why? Because of their sin. Again, look in Isaiah, chapter 64 verses 6-7, at how God repays the iniquity of their sin into their bosom. He brings the consequences of their sin back against them.

We usually talk about spiritual oppression being caused by Satan and his demons, but do we realize that the greatest weapon that the enemy uses against us is our own sin? And God will not let sin go undealt with in His people. Read the story of Balaam in Numbers 22-25 and 31:15-16. So if you are oppressed, if your soul is low, if His hand is heavy upon you, and you are in a time of privation and oppression, maybe there is sin in your life that you need to deal with. What is the first step in dealing with your sin? It is

25. Revive me according to your word.
In light of his low condition the Psalmist asks God to revive him. The word revive in the Hebrew means to restore to health, to restore to vitality, to heal and recover, and he asks God to revive him according to His word, not according to the wishes of the Psalmist, but according to the revealed will of God. So we see here a submission of the Psalmist's will to the will of God. This is important because sin is lawlessness (I John 3:4), it is rebellion against God's standards. So we see here a shift in attitude from rebellion to submission. Now you can see why God's hand would be heavy, why He would give you the bread of privation and the water of oppression, because sin is rebellion against God.

Where are you, my friend? Are you continuing to stubbornly or ignorantly stand in your rebellion, your lawlessness. Because to remain silent (Psalm 32) in your sin is to continue in rebellion against God. Submit yourself to God, humble yourself before Him and He will give you grace. As submission of the heart is always required before

26. I have told You of my ways and You have answered me; Teach me your statutes.
The next step to becoming restored to spiritual vitality and health is to tell God of your ways, your doings, your actions, the way you are thinking and living your life. In Psalm 32:5 we see the Psalmist calling it for what it is--sin. He did not hide it or keep silent about it any longer, but confessed it to God for what it is--sin. In I John 1:9 we are told that if we confess our sins then He will forgive our sins, just like in Psalm 32:5. In I John 1:9 the word for confess literally means to say or speak the same thing. If you really think about it what this means you will see that we are to say the exact same thing about our sin as God does, to call it for what He calls it, not to whitewash it or play it down by calling it other than what it is like poor decision, bad choice, falling down, failure, or problem. In fact, for us to call it the same thing as God does we must think about it and see it the way God does, and we are certainly capable of doing this since we have the mind of Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

We also see in this verse that when we tell God of our ways He answers us. When we see our sin the way He sees it and therefore speak about it as He would, He will not be silent. He will answer in forgiveness just as we saw in Psalm 32:5 and I John 1:9.

Notice the next thing the Psalmist does is to ask God to teach him His statutes. He has already stated in Psalm 119:1, 3, 9, 11 that it is the word of God that makes his way blameless, keeps him from unrighteousness, keeps his way pure, and keeps him from sin. In fact, this is one of the recurrent themes of this Psalm as seen also in verses 36, 80, 101, 105, 136, and 165. Again, our sin is the greatest tool Satan uses against us. So in our positive, friendly church culture where sin and its consequences are not mentioned or made less than what they are, he is having a field day. Especially when "practical principles" are being taught in lieu of the Word of God. It is the Word of God that is corrective. It is the Word of God that is restorative. It is the Word of God that is a light for our path and a lamp for our feet. No wonder the church looks so much like the world. So, my friend, do you view your sin the way God does, for the lawlessness and rebellion that it is, and have you confessed it to Him as such?

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