“There is nothing more astonishing than to realize that even the prophets called by God to tell Israel about their sin and the coming judgment could not avoid speaking in the most moving way about God’s grace and mercy. The message of the prophets, then, is that no amount of human evil and recalcitrance can ultimately stop God’s forgiveness from finding its way to us.”- Timothy Keller
“Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.”- Psalm 130:7-8 (NIV)
As Timothy Keller continues Chapter 4 of Forgive, he covers the fifth and sixth teachings in Psalm 130 about the Old Testament view of forgiveness. The psalm teaches us about:
5. The ultimate goal of divine forgiveness. As the psalmist waits for the Lord, his goal centers on God himself. Thus, in the fullest sense, biblical forgiveness involves more than simply asking for a pardon or remission. It always seeks restored relationship.
In addition, Pastor Keller lists at least three ways to ‘wait’ for God’s forgiveness:
- expectantly – as watchmen know, morning always comes. No matter how long the night seems. God always returns to the repentant soul. Always.
- obediently – in verse 5 the psalmist says he puts his hope in God’s word. That means he follows the promises, summonses, and commands of Scripture completely. Hence, no matter how you feel, you ‘wait’ for the Lord through simply obeying fully.
- in community – the psalmist praises God to and with fellow believers (v. 7-8). And he ministers to others.
6. The basis or the cause of God’s forgiveness. The psalmist proclaims in faith that God will come and provide the payment for sin. Of course, we know how that happened! In conclusion, Pastor Keller explains:
“While the New Testament gives us much more information about human-to-human forgiveness, the penitential psalms are unsurpassed in the Bible for instruction on how to seek and receive divine forgiveness.”
Today’s question: How do you react to Pastor Keller’s statement about the message of the prophets? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Forgiving and excusing – the difference”