Peace Because of His Eternal Forgiveness – Week of July 12, 2021
Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
A teacher asked the group of preschoolers “Hmmmm. . . .what is the opposite of cold?” And a tiny voice in the back of the group said, “Texas!” Ha! Most would agree that, yes, with the exception of the surprising winter storm of the century this past February, “Texas” and “cold” are often considered a sharp contrast!
The Psalm for today’s reading is filled with sharp contrasts. The first contrast we read is that “his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime.” Sin makes God angry! He sees everything that we do. God is all-knowing, and even the sins that we can hide from other people are seen by him. Even if we “get away with it”, God knows we sinned. You may have heard that “God hates sin and loves the sinner.” He does hate sin, but he loves us. His wrath and anger over our sins, even those we think we can conceal, only lasts “a moment”. When we come to him in repentance, that is, showing true remorse for what we did, then he forgives us. Every. Time. His love for us is eternal. The Psalm says that his “favor lasts a lifetime.” His “favor” for us is found only because of what Jesus has done for us by dying on the cross, and this favor lasts eternally.
Another contrast that we see is “night” and “day” in verse 5. “Weeping may stay for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” This is not to say that our sorrow is not real, deep, and painful. Our sorrow might last a long time—years even. When we look at all the sin in the world—those that we commit and those that we see in our neighbors, family, friends, and strangers– we ache. But when we compare our current sorrows to the joy of heaven, our time on this earth really is “only a night.” Our joy in heaven will last forever!
God’s grace is the focus of this psalm written by David. The word “grace” means “undeserved love.” Although we deserve God’s eternal punishment, his anger “only lasts for a moment.” Even when there are earthly consequences for sin, these don’t question or diminish God’s forgiveness. His love is eternal, and we will live with him in heaven forever because of his undeserved, forgiving love. With this reality in mind we daily put on a “new self,” a “new identity,” and we begin each day with renewed joy.
Thank you for the gift of your son, Jesus, through whom we are forgiven. Help us remember your promise to take us out of this world of sorrow and into the joys of heaven. As we wait for Jesus to come again, help us to find comfort in your Word and to share this with the people you have placed in our lives. Amen.