Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD;
for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.
Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me;
for I am desolate and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged:
O bring thou me out of my distresses.
Look upon mine affliction and my pain;
and forgive all my sins.
Consider mine enemies; for they are many;
and they hate me with cruel hatred.
O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed;
for I put my trust in thee.
In the name of Jesus. Amen. In the Garden it wasn’t this way. There was no sin, no shame. “And they were naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” But we know—all too well—what happened next. The serpent. The fruit. Then there is sin, shame, and death. Adam and Eve flee in fear from God’s presence. “Did you eat the fruit?” Yes, they had. Oh, the deep-seeded corruption! “It’s Your fault, God.” So, God must cast them out; cast them from His presence. But God doesn’t do so without first making a promise: ” I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” A promised Seed to undo the deep-seeded corruption sin had wrought.
Because our first parents sinned we all have the sorrow of sin and death in the world, and not just there—in our own lives! “The troubles of my heart are enlarged.” We have no clue what it’s like to live without sin, nor will we until life’s end. We don’t know what that first feeling of shame felt like to our once shame-less parents. But we know the visceral nature of OUR shame. The sins that terrify us—yeah, that one… We know the shame that goes with it. We have shame over what we’ve done, what we’ve left undone, and what may even have been done TO us. David’s cry is ours: “Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.”
The Lord answers this cry. He gave His answer from the beginning: “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” God Himself comes down. Humanity receives the blessing which Eve proclaimed too soon: “We have gotten a man, the LORD.” Jesus comes and bears our sins. He bears our guilt. Sins done and undone are atoned for. The guilt over them, covered. The guilt and sin inherited from Adam is wiped away. All by Jesus. Our enemies—sin, death, devil—were His enemies. He took care of it all at the cross. There Jesus died in shame—a byword to those passed by. The sinless, eternal Son of God died naked—He became the one who was ashamed. His sacred head was wounded, with grief and shame weighed down—yours and mine! Thus, “cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” But His death is our salvation. His grave our victory. His Resurrection our justification.
Such joy indeed. But what of shame? What of the guilt? Satan, our ancient enemy, doesn’t just give up. He truly hates us with cruel hatred. Guilt and shame are afoot. Such things are the stench of the devil. We know his power. His lies. His whispers. So much so that they may even become ours. But to that serpent our Lord says, “Be gone, Satan!” To you He says, “I baptize you.” “Take eat, take drink My body and blood for the forgiveness of your sins.” And as often as we need to hear it: “I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” In this way our Lord Jesus turns to us and has mercy upon us. And if guilt or shame of conscience returns? “I forgive you.” What of doubt? “I forgive even you.” What of the whispers? “I forgive you.” A smoldering wick He does not snuff our, nor does He break a bruised read. And no matter how many what ofs, what ifs, or what abouts we have, Jesus still says “I forgive you.” Indeed, Lord Jesus “keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee.” In the name of Jesus. Amen.
I fear no foe with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still if Thou abide with me!