“You answered them, O Lord our God;
You were to them God-Who-Forgives,
Though You took vengeance on their deeds.”
The Psalmist writes regarding the forgiveness of God and the fact that He will mete out vengeance on certain actions. These concepts often seem contrary to one another. We associate forgiveness with the removal of any and all consequences, but God does not see it that way. Abraham was forgiven for his sin with Hagar, but Ishmael was still born. Samson was forgiven for his sin, but the pillars still fell upon him. David was forgiven of adultery, but Bathsheba’s child still died. Peter was forgiven for denying Christ, but still had to live with the image of Christ’s gaze and the memory of the rooster’s cry.
Calling upon God to forgive will remove the judicial penalty for sin; you will no longer be held accountable before God for your actions. This forgiveness will also remove any barriers that are keeping you from experiencing the presence of God, but this does not mean there will be no consequences for your actions. When a husband cheats on his wife, he can be forgiven, but the damage has been done to his family, and it may take years before his wife will ever truly trust him again. When a person steals from their place of business, they can be forgiven, but may lose their job and even face jail time. We must never think that forgiveness means there will not be consequences, for they are often the reason we should truly fear sin and what it will do to our lives.
If you are close to crossing a line, be sure to realize you cannot take it back, and may suffer the consequences of that decision for as long as you are alive.
Questions for Psalm 99
- The last several psalms have been psalms of praise that exalt God to His rightful position. In verse 1-4 what are some of the attributes of God that deserve praise?
- In verse 5, we see our rightful position before God. The word for “worship” in the Hebrew means to “bow down”. It is our natural tendency to want to be the boss and to do things our way. Read Revelation 15:4. Notice how when we take time to consider who God really is, it becomes easier to see who we are and to take our rightful place at His feet.
- Note verse 8. When we have sinned there are consequences. Yet, God in His mercy forgives. Sometimes the consequences of sin are so difficult that our only comfort is that God has forgiven us and still loves us. What has God forgiven you of? Thank Him for it!