S (Scripture): Psalm 66
8 Bless our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard,
9 who has kept us among the living,
and has not let our feet slip.
10 For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11 You brought us into the net;
you laid burdens on our backs;
12 you let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.
O (Observation): The understanding of God in parts of the Old Testament is that God allows good and evil to befall God’s followers. If they receive blessing, that is good and this blessing is a reward. If they receive harm, this is to make them understand their sin and the challenges that come with that sin (in the hopes that they would sin no more).
Being tried like silver seems to be like a smelting process by which the silver is burned at a high temperature and in this process impurities are removed. In God’s people, they see God trying to purify the people through helping them to know the effects of their own sinfulness.
A (Application): We always like “our” way of doing things…whatever that way is. Sometimes, we even like our ways over God’s ways! (Gasp! Oh yeah, that’s called sin.)
The punishment of sin is not something we need in addition to the sin itself. Rather, in sin, we tear ourselves away from God and from others. That is a hell (or punishment) in and of itself. That distance we put between each other as we sin towards our neighbor is a chasm that feels like an eternal distance. We feel alone. We feel abandoned. And sometimes, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Christ, however crosses this chasm, even the chasm caused by death. And Christ brings us back into relationship. We need only to seek that forgiveness. Recognize our own wrongdoing.
God does watch us go wayward from time to time. When we cry out to God, God helps us. But at first, God probably says, “So, how’d that work out for ya?”
“Yeah, God…umm, not so well. Please forgive me.”
“Ok,” God says…”I forgive you. But you go and sin no more.”
P (Prayer): Lord, we give you thanks for the forgiveness you are always willing to show to us. Amen.