In the name of Jesus our Savior, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church welcomes you to ‘Dial-a-Devotion’, this is Vicar Tom Schlund. Our text for today is from Psalm 85:1-7 which reads:
“Lord, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us! Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.”
How many times do you forgive someone who has done something wrong against you? If it is a family member who sins, it might be easier to forgive time and time again, but if it is a stranger or even an enemy who sins against you it is much more difficult to even consider forgiving them. Forgiving doesn’t come naturally for us, it has to be taught. It is much easier and more natural to hold a grudge and seek revenge. We want to get back at someone for how they have wronged us.
Imagine having a son or daughter who frequently disobeyed you and did the opposite of what you had instructed them to do. You may have experienced this or might be currently experiencing it with your own children. Your instructions that you gave them were for their own good and even though they occasionally appear strict, they were meant to keep them safe and happy. Could you forgive them every time that they sinned against you? Is there ever a point where you stopped forgiving them or would consider not forgiving them anymore?
This is the situation that we see taking place in the Old Testament and referenced in our Psalm for today. God has created the world and has chosen his people Israel. They are his sons and daughters and he gives them instructions on how they are to live in the world. These instructions are for their own good and yet they continually disobey them and turn away from their heavenly father. The Psalmist recalls how God forgave his people from these sins and implores him to continue doing that and not to be angry with them forever.
Now before we get too proud and think that the Israelites were ignorant because they continued to sin against God, we must remember that we too sin against God. Our sin makes us enemies with him, cut off from his love and salvation. But Paul tells us in Romans that God demonstrates his extreme love in this way, that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. God forgives all of our sins. He forgives us each time that we sin and he puts no limits on the amount of forgiveness that he’ll give to us. Now we can forgive others for their wrongs against us because we have been forgiven and loved so greatly by our heavenly Father.
Let us pray:
Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for loving us so much that you sent your Son Jesus into the world to die on the cross to forgive our sins. Help us to always remember this great gift of love and forgiveness that you have given to us so that we too can share it with others. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen
My name is Tom. I'm fascinated by the ways that people, ideas, current events and theology interact with each other.