Humility and Surrender

Psalm 139 Part 4

The Forgiveness of Grace

“Many of us have a mental picture of what a Christian should be, and looking at this image in other Christians’ lives becomes a hindrance to our focusing on God.” Oswald Chambers

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©markuso freedigitalphotos.net

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

Old Testament and New Testament. Old Covenant and New Covenant. Before God’s redemption through Jesus. After God’s redemption through Jesus.

The Old Covenant was about earning God’s favor. An eye for an eye. Reward and punishment.

Had God not decided to wipe our past away and give the gift of a new beginning; had Jesus not been willing to redeem us and bring us and all of creation back into a personal relationship with God, we would be stuck in that Old Covenant paradigm. We would be stuck trying to obey the religious laws of men with outward earning.

Does it mean we no longer have to obey God’s commands? Of course not. But Jesus gave them deeper meaning and countermanded the man-made amendments to God’s original laws through inward desire.

Matthew 5:43-44 You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 28:20 Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

1 John 4:15-16, 18 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

The disharmony in these verses of David’s psalm mirror our own journey. We are awestruck by the grandeur of God’s creation. We acknowledge his thoughts and ways are outside the box of our own human logic. We praise him for his protection and provision. But with the same tongue, we spew hate and judgment upon those we decide are not worthy of God’s love. We determine if one hates God today, he will always hate God and therefore, we must hate him, too, rather than praying for his redemption.

James 3:8-10 [The tongue] is a restless evil full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

Yet David realizes what we do not: in asking God to curse his enemy, he must now reflect upon his own actions and qualities, for he has also displeased God and caused him grief. He prays to God, asking him to expose any grievous way (aspects of his character that lead to grief), and set him on the right path.

Asking God to search our own hearts, to know our own thoughts is an invitation to be completely vulnerable and humble to God. It is the first step to surrender. Let’s get real: God knows our thoughts and our hearts anyway. He waits for us to stop dog paddling in the ocean of his love. He waits for us to turn onto our backs, open ourselves completely to him, and allow him to transform us with his grace.

Psalm 13:5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

18 comments

  1. Loved this! No longer burdened by the law, but by Grace able to receive more of God. Not enslaved by what we do, tirelessly trying to please God but that we many now abide WITH Him and trust Him to reveal faults within ourselves and trust HIm even more to transform us into something better!

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    1. “by Grace able to receive more of God; trust Him even more to transform us into something better!” Yeah, that’s the ticket, Lilka. That flying off the trapeze kind of trust, knowing His hands are there to catch us. Huge. Thank you.

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  2. Mich-in-French · ·

    Thank you Susan – I have been pondering for a good few weeks on my humanity and my weaknesses and how without Father’s forgiveness I am just so lost. His grace abounds – if we read from Genesis to Revelation – we see it in all His responses to His kids. The grace of taking them our of Egypt and feeding them. Despite their grumbling and complaining, he kept them fed, safe and watered so to speak. His new covenant is a move from the word and His guidelines on stone tablets to the softness and vulnerability of our hearts – now His word becomes engraved on our hearts.

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    1. Absolutely, Mich. We all need it, yet turn our backs on it sometimes because we can’t forgive ourselves. As humans, it’s difficult for us to imagine the depth of such grace. And you’re right, and you’ve identified the whole point of it.We can’t ever do it ourselves. Jesus came and transformed – continues to transform – everything. Such a blessing.

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  3. I think that humans have lived under the law for so long, it has become our default. Pastors try to find how to measure spiritual growth and make charts and have seminars. And sooner or later, we become burned out. We are not here to memorize a man or woman’s interpretation; we are here to listen to the Spirit and live out what we hear. Thank you, Susan

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    1. Yes, yes and yes! We must not become stumbling blocks to each other or ourselves. We must continue to allow the names of Jesus and God in all their forms represent love and transformation. If we don’t, then we obliterate what Jesus came to do at our Father’s beckoning. We move backward instead of moving through the rebirth Jesus taught us. We deny his invitation of grace. Instead of turning onto our backs in full surrender, we turn our backs and walk away. How sad that would be.

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      1. Agreed. Walk in love without betraying the Truth.

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  4. 1John 4: 7-8 was one of my chosen readings 27 years ago for marriage. It still gives me shivers when I read its truth. Love and source is all.

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    1. Amen, sister. And it’s important to remind ourselves daily – even hourly – to prevent ourselves being controlled by our circumstances.

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  5. That tounge gets me in more trouble Susan. Carolyn and I both were talking going down the road today about when God goes first in our lives then alot of baggage disappears. For us this opens the door for God to love us and for us to trust him more. We just spend time with him and stay in his word and stand. He does the rest. Such a revelation for all of us to just roll over and let God have his way.

    Peace my sister.

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    1. Definitely, Tom. I can remember many times I’ve been tempted to enter into gossip and I’ve literally had to plant my teeth onto my tongue and say a prayer to help me either keep silent or say something to make us all aware of what we’re doing. Focusing on God – and love – is certainly the answer. 😉

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  6. I still have a hard time with the OT, Susan. I guess for background to Christ’s coming, it is good preparation but I have to admit candidly, I don’t look there too often. I am a NT fan. This sounds so irreverent, but it is honest. Thank you for this post. The struggle continues.

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    1. Oh, I did, too, Beth, until I realized the OT is all about Jesus. I began to see it through a whole new lens.
      May I recommend a book? A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren. I’ll also email you privately with a link to a couple of lectures. They’re pretty amazing. LOVE to share this stuff!

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      1. Thank you so much, Susan, I will be happy to find Christ there.

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  7. I love this. For so long I was “dog paddling”, I kept waiting for God to tell me to stop my self-destructive behavior…when I finally turned onto my back, and told Him I wanted to stop my behavior, I was able to feel His strength and love. Thank You.

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    1. It’s amazing when we embrace that easy yoke of Jesus – the lighter burden. The breathing comes easier, the grace, the mercy, the love, and the desire to embrace His strength and fruit. Amen, Lori.

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  8. You bettee preach! Excellent!!!!!!

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    1. Thanks, Brandon. 😀 You made me smile this morning. The words are all His passed along through me. And He does a marvelous job of preaching!!!

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