We know that under the New Covenant we have a forgiveness that was not available under the Law of Moses (Acts 13:26-39 and Hebrews 9:15-10:20). That is especially true to us, as Gentiles (Ephesians 2:1-17). Keep that in mind as we look at this Psalm from which our brief study is going to occur.
Before I bring the Psalm to your attention I am taking this lesson from, I want to remind us of something else we know. Throughout the Scriptures we have a time period before the Law of Moses (Genesis 1:1-Exodus 19:25). Then there was the Law of Moses, the prophets, and the Psalms (Luke 24:44). The law and the prophets were until John (Luke 16:16). Then the last days began as the New Covenant came into place (Acts 2). Sometimes people discount the instructions that did not come from Jesus or the Apostles. We should know that ALL SCRIPTURES are profitable for us (II Timothy 3:15-17). We should also know that while the law changed, multiple times, our Lord’s character did not (Malachi 3:6 and Hebrews 13:8).
Now, to our subject of study. Think about this Psalm entirely and from it the title of our study: “Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy. Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee. Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily. Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them. But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid. Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me” (Psalms 86:1-17).
As you study through the Scriptures you find messages throughout all the word of God wherein our Lord pleaded with people to repent of their sins. If those in sin would have heeded to those calls, God was willing to hear and forgive (Deuteronomy 4:15-31, II Chronicles 7:14, Isaiah 55:1-7, Jeremiah 36:1-3, Matthew 3:1-8, Luke 13:1-9, Acts 26:18-20, etc.). Under the Old Covenant, God’s people knew this though they did not often take heed to it and they therefore suffered much because of their sins (Nehemiah 9:1-38).
We need to learn from their unwillingness to depend upon the Lord’s forgiveness. Daniel wrote: “To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him” (Daniel 9:9). When you take what Daniel said with the fact that God is ready to forgive, we have great things to consider. While we never want to attempt to take God’s forgiveness for granted (Romans 6:1-2), we don’t want to count ourselves lost forever if we were to err. We need to remind ourselves that our God does judge righteously (Psalms 96:10 and II Timothy 4:8). Our righteous judge says that if we confess and forsake our sins He will forgive (Proverbs 28:13 and I John 1:9). If they of Old understood that, how much more should we. We have a great advocate in Christ that they of old did not. Remember that!
Jesus Is Our Advocate
When we study the Scriptures we learn that God’s expectations are greater under the Law of Christ than they were under the Old Law (Acts 17:16-31 and Hebrews 10:26-39). Does that mean God who was “ready to forgive” is all of a sudden less ready to do so? The answer to that is certainly a, “no”. In Christ, as indicated earlier in our study, we have forgiveness unlike was ever able before. That is all because of Jesus (Colossians 1:12-14). John wrote: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:1-2). It is because of Jesus that we can can come boldly before the throne of God (Hebrews 4:14-16).
We all fear, and rightfully so, being eternally lost because of sin (Romans 6:23). I have known people that are so afraid of being a sinner, that they ignore their sins instead of confessing and repenting of those sins. God desires that if someone has sin in their lives, for them to repent and choose to be saved (II Peter 3:9). God is ready to forgive!
Our righteous God once made a point to Israel, “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 18:30-31).
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