November 22, 2014

Running to the Refuge {Day 22}: Refuge in Sin

You have found yourself on day 22 of a month-long series.  You can catch up on previous posts here.

Early on in my preparations for this study, I wrote down a list of things God is a refuge in.  First on my list is hardship, second is sin.  That is what we'll be talking about today.  Doesn't that sound fun?!

All joking aside, however, the truth is that we need a refuge when we have sinned.  Knowing we have done wrong against our brother or our God is such an uncomfortable place.  I am excessively proud, so I really hate it when I know that I have to apologize because I've been a class A jerk.  I also get so frustrated by not being able to be perfect, an I-should-know-better-by-now mentality.  I hem and haw about saying I am sorry and asking forgiveness.  After a while, a heaviness settles in on me as I drag my feet trying to rationalize how things weren't that bad or try to believe that time will heal all wounds.

When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.

Yeah, it's like that.  Thanks, King David, for giving me words.

We all know what it is like to carry around the burden of sin on our shoulders.  What do we do, then?

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.

Wait, what?  How do we get that burden lifted?  We run to the refuge and open our lips to confess our sin to the Lord.  And He?  He forgives the guilt of our sin!

People, God is a refuge in sin because He is the forgiver of sin!  There is no other name under heaven and earth by which we can be saved.  Against God alone do we sin, even when it seems like our being a class A jerk has nothing to do with Him.  But it is His holiness we violate, so it is His call what He will do with us.

The Truth: When we run by faith to the Refuge we have offended, He doesn't shake His head, say 'I told you so', or tell us to do penance.  He forgives.

Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy!

David concludes Psalm 32:
Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to you
while you may be found;
surely when the mighty waters rise,
they will not reach him.
You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord's unfailing love
surrounds the man who trusts in him.
Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!

Who are the godly?  Who are the righteous?  Those who run to the Refuge!

In our sin, we are most desperate for the healing and transforming touch of our Refuge.  He alone can forgive, protect, and surround us.  He also, then, instructs and counsels us about what to do next, which is usually to go make amends with the humans we have offended!  When I have to ask someone to forgive me, I draw such strength from knowing my forgiven place in the shelter of my Refuge.  Class A proud jerks like me sure don't deserve that position; grace really is amazing!

I want to close with the opening two verses of the Psalm that is the backbone of today's post.

Blessed is he
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man
whose sin the Lord does not count against him
and in whose spirit is no deceit.

Blessed is the man who runs to the Refuge.

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