Lesson 114: Psalm 25:11…
Psalm 25:11 For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
David did not request forgiveness just because God is forgiving, but For the sake of [his] name. This idea appears more than once in the Bible: forgive our sins for your name’s sake (Psalm 79:9), wrote Asaph. And, your sins have been forgiven on account of his name (1 John 2:12), wrote John.
God’s name is glorified by forgiving our sins because it enhances his reputation as the God who forgives. The greater our sins, in fact, the more God is glorified by forgiving them. It is one thing to forgive sins of gossip and unkindness, but quite another to forgive murder, rape and blasphemy.
But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love (Nehemiah 9:17), said the Levites. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him (Daniel 9:9), wrote Daniel. God wants to be known as a forgiving God, so he is willing to forgive anyone for anything, if they come to him through faith in Jesus Christ (1 John 1:9).
If God only forgave little sins, or few sins, he could not be known as very forgiving. Everyone on earth forgives sins that are little or few. But if God forgives the worst possible repeat offenders, who believe in Jesus Christ, then he deserves a reputation as the God who forgives sinners. Once we have done our worst, and there is no other reason for God to forgive us, we should pray like David. For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
Psalm 27:8 My heart says of you, Seek his face! Your face, Lord, I will seek.
David was not content to go through religious motions; he wanted to meet with God. He wanted to be so close to God that it was like seeing his face. Think of your mother’s face, or your father’s face, or your child’s face. We seldom look at a person’s face for long unless we are committed to them.
Perhaps your grandfather played a game with you when you were young. He put a penny in his fist and let you pry his fingers open, so you could grab the penny and run away. It’s a wonderful game for children, but it’s also how some people pray. They do not seek God’s face so much as what is in his hand. It is not wrong to pray for our needs, but we should also pray to know God better. Our deepest longing is not what we can get from God, but for more of God himself.
Psalm 29:11 [T]he Lord blesses his people with peace.
The biblical idea of peace is much broader than the absence of conflict. It is more like things as they ought to be. Imagine things as they ought to be in your body. Then imagine things as they ought to be in your heart. Then imagine things as they ought to be in your mind, at home, at work, and at church. Then imagine things as they ought to be throughout the whole world, because one day, the peace of God will permeate all creation. Sin has made a mess of things, but Christ is making it right. Even now, he blesses his people with peace.
Psalm 31:19 How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you.
For many years David lived with little, but later he had much: power, privilege, health, wealth, friends, family and more. David was not unique in this way. Even now, God is storing up things for everyone who fears him.
When my children were young, their grandmother stored up things under her bed for them. Some were for birthdays, some were for Christmas, and some were just for fun. They were not allowed to look under her bed, but I think they used to dream of all that was being stored up for them. So should we.
Some of our hearts’ desires have been put there by God because he plans to fulfill them in time. It may happen suddenly, gradually, or not until the age to come. But the gifts of God will come, one day, and they will be abundant.
Psalm 32:5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord. And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
David did not identify the sin he committed, but he acknowledged the difficulty of coming to repentance. Instead of confessing his sin, and requesting forgiveness, he wanted to ignore the fact that he did something wrong. He may have justified his sin, or put it out of his mind, but he could not go forward with God until he owned up to it. Then he confessed his sin, and God forgave him.
A woman took part in a bank robbery in which an officer was shot and killed. She changed her identity and avoided arrest for twenty-three years. But her first thought every morning, and her last at night, was of the man who was killed. She took a class on depression but found no relief. Then, a couple decades later, she turned herself in to authorities. I have had to examine my conscience and accept any responsibility I have, she said.
If our conscience is working properly, we will have feelings of guilt whenever we break God’s law. The purpose of these feelings is not to make us miserable, but to bring us back to the Lord. As soon as we confess, God will forgive, and restore us to himself (1 John 1:9). Then our feelings of guilt will gradually subside. Confession may be difficult, but there is no other way to go forward with God.
Psalm 34:3 Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.
David was not content to be a solitary worshipper; he wanted others to join him. He was so concerned for God’s glory that he wanted to enlarge the circle of praise as far and wide as he could. This should be the attitude of every church, and every true believer in Jesus Christ. Christianity is not a solitary religion, but one that gathers corporately, and invites others to glorify the Lord with us.
A nobleman built a church for his village, but he did not include any lights. He gave each family lamp and reminded them that it would be a little darker whenever they did not attend. We ought to invite others to church, and we ought to go ourselves.
Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the Lord is good.
David’s relationship with God was so delicious that he wanted others to taste for themselves. As the tongue tastes food, we can experience God by drawing near to him. And when we do, we will discover that God is good.
There is almost nothing better to me than a ripe watermelon on a hot summer day. Watermelon proves to me that God is good, because only a good God would invent something that delicious. God and watermelon also have this in common: the closer you get to the heart, the better they are. Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Psalm 36:8 [Y]ou give [us] drink from your river of delights.
A college I attended had a river nearby where we liked to swim. There was a tree on the bank, with a rope-swing attached, which we made the most of. We would swing over the river, flip in the air, and splash down in the water. It was a river of pure delight to us.
This is a foretaste of what is to come. In the last chapter of God’s word we read about the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God (Revelation 22:1). In glorified bodies we will swing, flip and laugh to our hearts content. Whatever is delightful in this age is only a foretaste of what is to come.
Reflection and Review
Why does God like to forgive?
What does it mean to seek God’s face?
Why is hard to confess our sins?