Embracing Grace: The Forgiveness of God

A 365 Day Devotional Journal

Day 80

Scripture: Psalm 103:11-13; 1 Chronicles 17:16-18; Deuteronomy 9:4-6; 2 Corinthians 3:5; Isaiah 1:16; Micah 6:8. 

For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him.1

Photo courtesy of David Niblack / CC BY 3.0

King David experienced the goodness and mercy of God because he feared Him. Not feared, as in the sense of being afraid, but feared as in the sense of profound respect and honor. You do not fear someone you have no respect for, nor will you honor them. But fear is something more than simply respect and honor. It is the reverential awe shown toward God alone. The proud in heart do not understand reverential awe because it can only be experienced from a position of humility. David walked in humility. He retained a humble heart because he never forgot where he came from as a shepherd boy:

Photo courtesy of David Niblack / CC BY 3.0

Then David the king went in and sat before the LORD and said, “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my house that You have brought me this far? This was a small thing in Your eyes, O God; but You have spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come, and have regarded me according to the standard of a man of high degree, O LORD God. What more can David still say to You concerning the honor bestowed on Your servant? For You know Your servant.²

These do not sound like the words of a proud man, do they?

If we were given the opportunity like John the Revelator, to be lifted up into the third heaven and, whether in the body or out of the body we do not know, meet and speak with King David, I believe that we would quickly find out what a humble man he truly was and is. He would not speak about his greatness as king, nor of his kingdom, nor of the Messiah who came from his royal line. Rather, he would quickly point out that he hoped we would learn from the mistakes he made while he was king so that we do not repeat them.

Photo courtesy of David Niblack / CC BY 3.0

Remember that when David said “Who am I?” it was after he had been crowned king! Do we even know of such a man or woman in world leadership today like this? More often than not, once world leaders are elevated, they falsely believe it was by their own merit their position of power was gained. Israel struggled with this sort of self-delusion, as attested to by these words God spoke to them upon entering the Promised Land…

“Do not think in your heart, after the LORD your God has cast them out before you, saying, ‘Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land’…  It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land…Therefore understand that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people.3

Paul understood this principle is a condition common to all men, believer and unbeliever alike. He wrote “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…”4

US Senate A.D. 1850 by Peter F. Rothermel (1855). Photo courtesy of the US Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID ppmsca.09398. Public Domain.

“Speculations” in the above excerpt from Romans comes from the Greek, dialogismos, διαλογισμός [Strong’s G1261], and refers to the thinking of a man deliberating with himself, or simply the deliberation of something, disputing, arguing.5 It involves an element of questioning or doubting about what is true and comes from the verb, dialogizomai, διαλογίζομαι [Strong’s G1260], which means “to bring together different reasons, to reckon up the reasons, to resolve in one’s mind, deliberate.”6 Dialogizomai in turn derives from the two words, dia, διά [Strongs G1223], “denoting the channel of an act”7 and logizomai, λογίζομαι [Strong’s G3049] “the middle voice from logos (uttered by a living voice embodying a concept or idea); to reckon, count, compute, calculate; to take into account; a thing reckoned; to reckon inward, weigh the reasons, deliberate, to gather or infer.”8, 9

Dialogizomai is the same verb used by the Apostle in 2 Corinthians 3:5. The English translators, however, used the work, think, in this passage:

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God…10

Vines puts it like this, “In 2 Corinthians 3:5 the Apostle uses it in repudiation of the idea that he and fellow-servants of God are so self-sufficient as to “account anything” (RV) as from themselves (AV, “think”), i.e., as to attribute anything to themselves.”11

It is related to the English word, dialogue,which comes the Greek for dia and logos, the contrasting of philosophical or intellectual attitudes perfected by Plato in the early 5th century B.C. and expanded by Lucian in the 2nd century A.D.12

Interestingly enough, this is not the word translated as “reason” in Isaiah:

“Come now and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.”13

Photo courtesy of Javier Baño. Public Domain.

“Reason” here comes from the Greek verb yakach, יָכַח [Strong’s G3198],  meaning to prove, argue by showing, convict, reprove, correct, to judge, to do justice.14

What great good God could do through men and women like David if we would remember this simple lesson. It was because of David’s willingness to walk humbly before God that he also was quick to accept God’s correction and then walk in the forgiveness of God, rather than incurring His wrath, as did his predecessor, King Saul.

Forgiveness is a gift freely given to man through Jesus but it requires humility of heart to both receive it and walk it out, mature and bear fruit.

I will leave you with this question:

Could it be that when Jesus spoke about the Word falling on different types of soil (the condition of the heart), the bottom line of whether or not the individual possessed “good soil” was dependent upon his walking in humility?

 

He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

Read:  Psalm 103:11-13; 1 Chronicles 17:16-18; Deuteronomy 9:4-6; 2 Corinthians 3:5; Isaiah 1:16; Micah 6:8. Journal your private thoughts.

Father God, You have shown me what is required. I acknowledge that Your forgiveness is not simply a get-out-of-jail-free card, though Your gift of salvation is freely given. Everything goes back to my heart. Make it clean again, Lord. I want to honor You in all I do, in who I am in You. Come and be my strength. For Your glory, amen.

 _______________________ 

1Psalm 103:11-13. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
21 Chronicles 17:16-18. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
3Deuteronomy 9:4-6. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
4Romans 1:21-22. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
5Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for dialogismos (Strong’s 1261)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfmStrongs=G1261&t=NASB (accessed June 1, 2011.)
6Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for dialogizomai (Strong’s 1260)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfmStrongs=G1260&t=NASB (accessed June 1, 2011.)
7Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for dia (Strong’s 1223)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011.  http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfmStrongs=G1223&t=NASB (accessed June 1, 2011.)
8Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for logizomai (Strong’s 3049)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfmStrongs=G3049&t=NASB (accessed June 1, 2011.)
9Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for logos (Strong’s 3056)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfmStrongs=G3056&t=NASB (accessed June 1, 2011.)
 102 Corinthians 3:5. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
 11Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for logizomai (Strong’s 3049)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?
Strongs=G3049&t=NASB
(accessed June 1, 2011.)
12dialogue. Dictionary.com. © Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dialogue (accessed: June 01, 2011).
13Isaiah 1:16. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
14Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for yakach (Strong’s 3198)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3198&t=NASB (accessed June 1, 2011.)
15Micah 6:8. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com

Copyright © 2011, Érin Elise

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