A Just Yet Merciful God
By Lee Jones
We live in an era that demands grace. As a Christian, someone who has received infinite grace from God, I would love to shell that out to anyone. But I, like every other Christian, remember the absolute importance of repentance before the holiness and righteousness of YHWH.
David is dealing with mistreatment at another man’s hand. In the midst of him calling out to God for help, he waxes eloquent on the basis of righteousness, the punishment that awaits the unrighteous, and God’s majestic provision of salvation.
Repentance and belief has always been the bread and butter of YHWH’s covenant people
Verse 8 says “The LORD judges the peoples; vindicate me, O LORD, according to me righteousness, and my integrity that is in me.” Before we run away into self-righteousness, let’s contextualize this with v. 10, “My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart.” God has always saved his elect in the same way before, during, and after Jesus’ earthly ministry. Repentance and belief has always been the bread and butter of YHWH’s covenant people. As Romans 3:23-26 says, all people have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, and it takes the blood of Jesus to wipe it away.
The wicked scoff at the saving grace of Christ, to their own destruction. David makes this point crystal clear through this psalm; v. 11, 12, “God is a righteous judge and a God who has indignation every day. If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword. He has bent his bow and made it ready.” God is just to destroy those who persist in their cosmic treason against the Holy, Holy, Holy God. Verses 14-16 really paint the picture in case the preceding verses were too discreet for some readers.
Here’s the honest truth: the world is no different now than it was then. David was lamenting the persecution he was under at the hand of Cush the Benjamite, a story not recorded in scripture, but outside of that context, the truths in this psalm are timeless. That makes the often-heard retort that Christians hold to ancient beliefs that have no relevance in 2019. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s plain to see that human nature hasn’t changed since the earliest days of recorded history and before. As recorded in Genesis 6:5, to this day every intention of man’s heart is only evil continually. The only difference is now we have so many euphemisms and media to use in rebranding sin into virtue, mistake or accident.
But thank God that the saving gospel hasn’t changed either. It’s the only hope for sin-dead mankind. Repent of your sins and trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, the credit of his righteousness to you, and the promise of eternal life. Then and only then can you agree with David that your shield is with God and you can be assured that He hears your prayers, the prayers of a covenant child.
Glory to God alone