Psalm 130, Ezekiel 33:10-16, Revelation 11:15-19
Growing up, I always had a transactional view of God. To my high school self, God was just interested in my behavior and as long as I didn’t cuss, steal, or kill anyone, I was good. And if I was good, God would give me things that I wanted. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was a faulty way of thinking and believing in God. Verse 3 in Psalm 130 says that if God kept a record of our sins no one has a leg to stand on. Even if we are perfect, or “righteous” as Ezekiel says, if we disobey one time (Ezekiel 33:12) our previous perfection counts for nothing. We cannot stand on our righteousness in the presence of God.
Deep down each of us know that. We know that we are broken. Either we fail to measure up or we realize that we are frail people that need help.
But there is hope.
Notice how Psalm 130:3 states that no one is righteous. The psalmist says that “if” God kept a record of everyone’s sins no one could stand, implying that he doesn’t do that. And verse 4 speaks to the true nature of the holy God of the universe: “But with you there is forgiveness”. Sometimes my transactional view of God creeps in and tells me that I don’t need forgiveness. The lie tells me that I need more of God’s blessings. But my hope is not in the gifts that God gives me, my hope is with the unfailing love and redemption that God provides (Psalm 130:7-8).
I also love the way this psalm expects God to redeem and provide mercy. It’s like the writer has seen it before; like the writer has cried out to God previously and seen Him answer. The psalmist is willing to wait because he knows mercy and redemption is coming and it is worth it.
Today’s verses in Ezekiel speak of life and death. No one can have life without repentance, which isn’t an elimination of sin. Repentance is what Ezekiel 33:11 says twice: to turn! It says to turn from your evil ways. The first followers of Jesus were called followers of the Way. They followed the way of Jesus, the way He did life: sacrificed for others, loved the marginalized and privileged alike, and led with kindness, passion, and gentleness. The first Christians turned from an evil way of life to follow the Jesus way of life. And that’s our call now: to step into the life Jesus offers through the forgiveness of a holy, loving, and awesome God.
Ryan Neises, Coordinator of Academic Services and Sports Ministry