Going Deeper 9-11-19

The Psalm for Pentecost 14...

Psalm 51:1-10   Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.  Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.  Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.  You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.

 

For some of us, reading or hearing this Psalm might cause us to check our calendars.  This is the reading we are used to hearing on Ash Wednesday, launching us into a season of somber repentance.  This makes us think about King David and his adultery, deceit and murder.  And this makes us think about our own sin.

 

But this Psalm is beautifully matched with the other readings for this coming Sunday.  Yesterday we considered how God was willing to relent from wiping out the descendants of Abraham after they worshipped the golden calf, breaking the very first commandment He had given them after dramatically, powerfully, and graciously rescuing them from abusive slavery in Egypt.  God always prefers repentance leading to reconciliation and restoration.

 

As a matter of fact, as we will hear in our Gospel reading in a couple of days, God and the hosts of heaven actually rejoice when the lost is found.  In telling the stories of The Lost Sheep and The Lost Coin, Jesus is calling the Jewish leaders to repentance and pointing to the loving grace which causes Him to reach out to the sinners and outcasts.  Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, and unless we understand that we are last, we have no need or hope of being found.

 

Repentance is realizing we are in need of the grace Jesus offers.  This means Psalm 51 is a Psalm for all seasons.

 

With You in His Grace,

 

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church

Wellington, Colorado

 

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."