Yesterday, I asked a question on a public forum, "What is a tormenting thought you want God to take away?" I've gotten two answers that are heaven and earth apart. Both answers are from men. This was the first one I got-
Man #1- "Here is one of the damages wrought by religion. A life long dependence upon a placebo parent phantasm. Atheists, they put their grown up pants on every day, and sort out their own issues. Atheism, it requires strength and maturity. It may not be for you."
Here is the 2nd answer-
Man #2 -" I used to be tormented by the thought of going through life alone. I prayed and asked God to take this away from me. Instead, He sent me my wife. Turns out God knew what was best for me better than I did, and the years I spent single and celibate were setting me up to meet my wife and to love her... Now when I have difficulties in life, I ask God to help me see the purpose behind them. God is not a cosmological vending machine to pop a 25-cent prayer into and get whatever you want out of it. He's a real, living, thinking, feeling being with unlimited power, resources, and knowledge and a real, vested interest in our well-being..."
The 2nd half of his answer was giving an example of he and his wife taking their son to get his first shots. He recalls their little boy knowing they were holding him down so a strange man could poke a needle in him. His point is that their little boy did not understand what was happening to him, but as his daddy, he did. And that it is the same with God. He went on to say, "God's knowledge and wisdom far surpasses our own." And then he quoted the apostle Paul and affirmed his trust in God's knowledge. "The foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom. So I put my trust in His purpose and plan for me, even and perhaps especially when it causes me pain, because though it hurts me now, I know that this is nothing compared to the joy that is coming (such as meeting my wife)..."
Pretty radical in terms of the chasm separating the perspective of each man isn't it?
Before I got that first answer, I was meditating and praying through some verses in Psalm 32. And I see the radical difference of each man in those verses. Psalm 32 talks about a man who talks openly with God which it appears man #2 does. He admitted loneliness and trusts in God. It sounds like he knows Jesus pretty well based upon his references of Christ's foolishness referenced in 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. So my bet is that he also openly talks to God about big issues referenced like transgression, sin, and iniquity. Big and often intimidating words, but good news for those unafraid of God. The author of Psalm 32 uses those 3 words repeatedly in Psalm 32, the New King James Version. What are the differences? Let's explore them, the blessing that comes through them, and do a prayer exercise at the end.
According to biblical concordances, transgression is rooted in rebellion, sin is a crime or offense, and iniquity is a bent or warped nature (perverse, depraved). So to describe it to another, it would be in context to say, that each is born rebellious, so each commits offenses/crimes that are perverse and depraved. How in the world does God bless us as a result of these?
Wildly, the psalmist claims there is blessing for those! It's conditional of course. But radical none-the-less! So think of man #1 above. There is blessing awaiting him. Radical blessing! IF man #1 would see God as good, not as a fantasy made up in imagination. Please stop and pray for him to intersect with the love of God, to go in the way of blessing.
What kind of blessing? Blessing in biblical Hebrew terms has a literal picture of one kneeling down to offer an undeserved gift that brings joy, that satisfies the receiver. I have blogged about blessing God in this way a couple of times prior. But, in God's highest terms, blessing is His supernatural offering. He reaches down. He bends down and offers undeserved gifts that wholly satisfy in ways no other gift can. Man #2 wanted strength to endure loneliness and celibacy. Yet God knew better and sent him a gift of help in a wife, Genesis 2:18-25.
God is always wanting to send undeserved help. But far too often, we are like man #1. Maybe not in the same degree, but like him none-the-less. Maybe we are stubborn like the horse or mule referenced in Psalm 32. Maybe we steel ourselves, and talk to ourselves saying something along the lines of, "Today is another day, man up, be strong, you can do this." Or, "Don't be such a baby. Grow up. God has bigger issues and doesn't care about all your little problems. You screw up anyways, so why should He bother with you?" Or we ignore God's assist. We prefer to ignore the whispers. Assess yourself. What is your self-talk telling you? Is it your voice or God's? If it has any form of condemnation it is not from God. Is it a voice from your past? A disapproving parent? Yourself as a rebellious teenager? Pay attention to your self-talk. Does it push you to rely on self or God? We are not to carry burden alone. That takes us totally off the path of blessing.
The most radical blessing God can offer is forgiveness. Each time we talk to God we have opportunity to acknowledge our rebellion, our crimes of offense in thought and deed, and openly share our perverse and imperfect nature to God. All without rebuke, to receive mercy in our time of deep need! Psalm 32 promises that approaching God this way, without deceit, confessing our offenses brings supernatural assist in big ways. Great flood waters that destroy do not come near! There is a perpetual hiding place that preserves from trouble! There is a supernatural surrounding of song, songs of deliverance! He promises to instruct and teach the way to go, to guide you with his loving eye you! As you trust in God and not rebel against His guidance, mercy surrounds you! You are glad and rejoice! This is the blessing of those receiving undeserved forgiveness. You shout for joy, for you know that when God looks upon you, despite yourself, you are upright in heart because of Jesus!
Forgiveness is the center of all blessing from God. Forgiveness is lifting up, carrying away, taking the burden, bearing the cost. The only one who is strong enough to take away the twisted nature of the heart is Jesus. Contrary to man #1 who thinks he has to put on his grown up pants on and be strong and mature. Man #2 gets it, the foolishness of God is wiser than any man's wisdom. He has received the undeserved gift and approaches God not as a vending machine, but as a Holy and Sovereign good God who knows better than he does and trusts Him.
Who do you have more in common with today, man #1 or man #2? Take some time with God and unburden.
Below is a prayer of confession for followers of Christ. It will help you put to memory and pray through the differences of transgression, sin, and iniquity. It expounds on each word as it appears in verses 1 and 2 of Psalm 32 NKJV. Getting the definitions clear inside your heart and mind, will help you be able to talk about human nature to another. It will also help you work with God as you pray and confess, to position to receive the multitude of blessings and healing He promises! Blessings!
PRAYER EXERCISE (expound on definition): Read through Psalm 32 first.
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Hi my name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 25 year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and praying for His life in greater measure!