Have you ever taken the time to read Psalm 139? If you have not, I seriously advise you take the time to do so, and soon. Today, sitting here in meditation, while preparing for the small group of which I am a part at the church I presently attend, I find myself once again awestruck by the goodness of God, his undying faithfulness and mercy. Today, we are beginning a study in the book by R.T. Kendall, Total Forgiveness. That being said, I have read through the introduction and the first chapter, and I am floored as I consider and reconsider the magnitude of the mercy of God. Psalms 139 opens with these words, “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.” It goes on to say, “You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I am far away.”
Reading this Psalm, especially in light of the information in the first chapter of R.T. Kendall’s book, Total Forgiveness, many thoughts and emotions were brought to the forefront of my heart and mind. God knows everything about you and about me. He is completely acquainted with every strand of our DNA. He knows what we will decide to do even before we make the decision or act on what we have decided. He knows what I will contemplate long before I even become aware. God knows my innermost thoughts, the meditations of my heart. Of the fulness of our being, there is not one atom with which he is not fully and completely unfamiliar. He knows when I have failed unintentionally as well as when I have do so by making a deliberate choice to act contrary to what I know is right. God knows all of this about me and about you. And still he loves us, still he cares for us. And still, he forgives us.
The Psalmist also writes, “I can never escape from your Spirit, I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to the heaven, you are there. If I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest side of the oceans, even there your hand will guide me and your strength will support me.” In other words, no matter what I do or where I go, wherever I may find myself, in any given situation God is there.
In reading Kendall’s book, this is something I began to consider in light of God’s faithfulness to forgive. Matthew 26: 27-28 says, “And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.” I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins.” (my paraphrase) We further read in Hebrews 10:16-17, “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, ‘says the Lord’: I will put my laws in their hearts and in their minds. Then he says, I will never again remember their sins and their lawless deeds.” God is so committed to forgiving us that he sealed it in stone, in a manner of speaking. He established his commitment through covenant. And it is a covenant to which he will remain forever faithful.
Talk about forgiving and forgetting! Even though the book by Kendall seems to be written from a slightly different perspective, in that it seems of focus more on the necessity and benefit of forgiving rather than the forgiveness we receive from God. It definitely also touches on the latter. And I expect more so as I continue to read through its pages. Still, these are some to the thoughts that have come to me as I have enjoyed the book thus far.
As I hope to touch on in next week’s blog, we have the power to forgive others because God has forgiven us. If you have never done so, or haven’t done so in a while, take time to read Psalm 139, and just meditate on the unfathomable depth of God’s love, God’s mercy, God’s faithfulness, and God’s willingness to forgive.
Have a blessed and prosperous week,
All Scripture references are taken from the New Living Translation of the Holy Bible (NLT)