October 13, 2020
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 13 October 2020
The precipitating action that began one of the most significant events in history – the Protestant Reformation – occurred on 31 October 1517, when it is believed that Martin Luther tacked his “95 Theses” on the church door of Wittenberg. The very first thesis reads, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” Luther declared that Scripture teaches that true repentance is essential for all people and that it involves a transformation of the entire person.
Repentance is the conscious turning from sin toward God. As a change of mind will affect behavior, genuine repentance is determination to forsake sin. Genuine repentance always involves faith, and genuine faith always involves repentance. Both are necessary components of conversion. Repentance is a change of mind that leads to a transformation from the old nature and practice. True repentance is what Luther proclaimed amidst the religious hypocrisy of his time.
Psalm 143 is known as a penitential psalm, wherein the psalmist acknowledges or confesses sin and turns from it. The penitential psalms are appropriate prayers for the repentant sinner. Psalm 143 begins with David acknowledging his sin and seeking the Lord’s mercy and help. He pleaded, “Hear my prayer, O Lord.” David appealed to God to answer his prayer because God is faithful and righteous. His plea was based upon God’s holy character. Righteousness is something only God can impart by his pure grace (v. 2).
David was experiencing intense persecution (vv. 3-4). Enemies continually attacked him, which proves that the more opportunities and responsibilities that a leader attains, which make that person more visible, the more a target he or she becomes. The more David committed himself to God, the more attacks came from the enemy. Here, however, those reproaches were God’s discipline. In his distress, David remembered “days of old.” He recollected when divine blessing and favor characterized his life (vv. 5-6).
David prayed for God to answer him quickly (v. 7). He was in a time of spiritual decline and recognized he needed the Lord’s guidance (v. 8). Trust in God involved turning to the Lord with a repentant heart. Sin led David astray and only God could teach him the way in which he should walk. David recognized only God could rescue him (v. 9). He needed teaching from the Holy Spirit to lead him “on level ground” (v. 10).
David’s appeal for restoration was for the sake of God’s name. He requested God to renew a steadfast spirit within him (v. 11). To be lead by the Lord would result in restoration from the attacks of his enemies (v. 12). Even when God’s people sin, they can pray to the Lord for help and restoration on the basis of his faithfulness and righteousness. David’s confidence was not in his own ability; rather, it was the fact that he was God’s servant. The wise farmer always takes good care of the vessel that plows his crop. Psalm 143 encourages God’s servant that if there is an authentic desire to serve the Lord, and an openness to his leading, he or she can be certain of God’s perfect care.
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