Friday, July 22, 2016

Seeking Forgiveness for Self 7/22/2016

"Then they kept crossing the ford to bring over the king’s household, and to do what was good in his sight. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king as he was about to cross the Jordan.  So he said to the king, 'Let not my lord consider me guilty, nor remember what your servant did wrong on the day when my lord the king came out from Jerusalem, so that the king would take it to heart.  For your servant knows that I have sinned; therefore behold, I have come today, the first of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king.'  But Abishai the son of Zeruiah said, 'Should not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord’s anointed?'”  2 Samuel 19:18-21

David once famously packed up his household and many of his followers and left his home base of Jerusalem in an effort to avoid a war with his son who sought to supplant him by force as the new king.  During one of the lowest times of his life, a man by the name of Shimei came along and began to verbally abuse the king with words that were shocking for a commoner to use against his monarch.  He accused him of being a murderer and a wicked person and said that he deserved all he was suffering.  To add insult to injury, he threw rocks and dirt at the king and all of his company.

As it would happen, the fortunes of David would reverse.  Having put down the insurrection, the king and his cohort began to make his way back into Jerusalem to retake the throne and restore order.  As this was occurring, Shimei appeared and was contrite, humble and repentant as he confessed and asked for forgiveness.

Beloved, how often have we played the role of Shimei in our sinful behaviors?  We can all look back on times when we have done wrong to relatives, friends, acquaintances, co-workers and even members of the church.  In so doing, we shake the fist of rebellion at God by not obeying his command to love him with all we've got and to love others as we love ourselves.  Our behavior can be abhorrent when we are angry and hurt.  Fortunately for us, God is as patient with us as David was with Shimei.  Though well within his right, David did not take Shimei's life when he sinned against him, but let him go.  This gave him an opportunity to come to his senses and he eventually did.

The lesson here is that we must all come to our senses, recognize the wrong we have committed against God and beg for forgiveness with more vigor than that with which we sinned against him.  And we must not be afraid to approach him and ask.  1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  So often we are immobilized by our guilt and shame and decide that we are unforgiveable.  This in and of itself is sinful in that we are not to put ourselves in the place of God.  It is he who has directed us to seek him and his righteousness.  It is up to us to obey.

We do not have a license to sin but we do have a remedy.  If you are overtaken in a fault, go to the only one who can fix it, then accept what he provides, or as Jesus said, "Go and sin no more," John 8:11.

Practically speaking,


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