August 16

2 Chronicles 9-12, Psalm 74

Once the sixteenth president of the United States, President Abraham Lincoln was asked how he was going to treat the rebellious Southerners when they had finally been defeated and returned to the Union of the United States. The questioner expected that Lincoln would take a dire vengeance, but he answered, "I will treat them as if they had never been away." Dwight L. Moody said, "A great many people want to bring their faith, their works, their good deeds to Him for salvation. Bring your sins, and He will bear them away into the wilderness of forgetfulness, and you will never see them again." God's ways are so much higher than our ways. Many people who feel they have been wronged feel they are acting nobly when they say, "I will forgive that person, but I will never forget what they did to me." But God who is infinitely perfect looks at forgiveness very differently. We read in Hebrews 8:12, " For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."

The entirety of Scripture is crucial to understanding His Word, for sometimes what is missing is just as important as what is said. We read in 1 Kings 11:1-4, "But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharoah: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites-from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, "You shall not inter-marry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods." Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God,...". Solomon recalls his years of backsliding and wrongful thinking in the book of Ecclesiastes, but concludes the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil." Solomon started strong, then backslid terribly. But at the conclusion of his life he was restored to God in faith. In the passage of 2 Chronicles which covers this portion of Solomon's history, all of these terrible blemishes of his history are simply omitted. The same thing occurred in 1 Chronicles, when the terrible sin of David's adultery with Bathsheeba and the murdering of her husband, Uriah is simply omitted from the narrative. While Samuel and Kings tell the history of Israel from a political perspective, Chronicles tells this same history from a more spiritual perspective. In what we would consider to be extremely important in describing the terrible backsliding of two of Israel's greatest kings, God chooses to forget.

There are two very important things to remember from this. When we come to Christ and choose to accept His payment for us for our sins: past, present and future, they are not partially covered but completely covered by His blood. When Jesus said on the cross, "It is finished" (John 19:30), this meant "Paid in full". Jesus who sits at the right hand of the Father, continually intercedes on our behalf. God chooses to respond to our confessed unrighteousness with His mercy. We can remember our actions and beat ourselves up over them. Satan may remember our past acts and condemn us for them. But God remembers our sins no more. Remember David's words in Psalm 103:11-12, "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." Now applying this to our interactions with others, when our infinitely perfect God can choose to forgive and forget what we have done against Him, how can any of us make comments like: "But you have no idea what that person did to me", or "I can forgive him but I will never forget". As our perfect Savior was being crucified for our sins, and was being mocked, He did not yell back or threaten that they would get what they deserved for this evil, instead we read in Luke 23:34, "Then Jesus answered, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." We are to model this example of forgiveness from Jesus. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructed us concerning this in Matthew 6:14-15, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster