Thursday, February 16, 2012

True Repentance in the Life of a Believer in Psalm 119

I sought Your favor with all my heart;
Be gracious to me according to Your word.
I considered my ways
And turned my feet to Your testimonies.
I hastened and did not delay
To keep Your commandments.
Psalm 119:58-60

These verses give us a wonderful picture of true repentance in the life of the believer.  Let's break down what we see in this picture.

1. The condition of our heart, vs 58
We see the that there is a heartfelt desire to be right with the Lord.  This is the ground of repentance, this is where true repentance must start, with a real desire to be right with God and to walk closely with Him.  It will manifest itself in a concern for one's fellowship with God.  A heart like this is fertile soil for repentance.  In Psalm 51: 17 and Isaiah 66:2 we see that this the kind of heart that curries favor with God.  Compare this to the unrepentant heart in Hosea 7:14a, and Jeremiah 8:6.

2. The consideration of our ways, vs 59
The word consider means to think on, or to examine so as to make a judgment.  In true repentance we will have looked at our ways (both as to how we live and what we think) so as to judge them.  We, like the Psalmist, will have judged how our ways line up with God's ways as His ways are the plumb line for determining if our ways match up; and it is His word that give us the knowledge and ability to do that.  This always involves an acknowledgment of where our ways (again, both living and thinking) do not line up with His.  This judging of our ways will lead to that moment when we cry out to God, "O, what have I done!"

3. The turning from our ways to His, vs 59
When we see where we are off, where our way of living and thinking have diverged from His, we will turn from our own path and turn to His.  His path is shown by His testimonies. This is truly turning from our transgressions and turning to His righteousness.  We see an example of this in Ezekiel 18:27-28.  True repentance always involves this turning from sin and turning to God (I Thessalonians 1:9-10).  See God's call to to the world for its repentance in Isaiah 45:22.

4. The hastening of our turning, vs 60
We see the sense of urgency as the Psalmist can't wait, won't delay to turn to God.  This shows the burden of the heart to be right with God, its importance to the heart of a true believer. True repentance will always include this sense of urgency to be back in God's favor.  True repentance will never be lacksadasical or luke warm regarding being right with God.  Repentance is serious stuff to a heart like this, because this is a heart that loves the Lord and craves that sweet intimate communion with Him, and does not want anything between him and his Lord.  When a heart is truly broken and contrite over its sin, it will always hasten and take the straightest path back to God as it wants to be healed from the wound of its sin.

5. The keeping of His commandments, vs 60
True repentance will always result in a renewed commitment to the word of God, and a renewed commitment of obedience to that word.  A heart that has turned from its sin, and been healed from its sin ,will be eager to follow the Lord's commands, and will take great joy in keeping those commandments.  This heart will take great delight in following after the Lord, and the Lord will take great delight in this heart (Isaiah 66:2, Psalm 37:4). 

A true believer will truly repent, and this pattern of repentance...contrition, consideration, turning, hastening, and keeping...will be true for their life.

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