New Beginnings and Fresh Starts

He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him (Psalm 103:10-11).

In this Psalm, David reminds himself (his “soul,” vv. 1-2) why he should bless the Lord. Two items seem to top the list: God’s abundant forgiveness, and (later in the Psalm) his never-ending faithfulness. All things come to us because of God’s gracious provision.

Verses 10 and 11 stand out to me because . . . well . . . I’ve got sins that need to be forgiven. If that seems rather shameless and self-serving or too straightforward, I wish I could say I apologize but I can’t. Given how much and how often I’ve blown it (and continue to blow it), reading these verses is like someone giving me a cold cup of water to drink on a hot day.

No matter how you slice it, and no matter whether you’re reading the Old Testament or the New Testament, it’s clear that God loves to save and then use sinners. God is in the business of redeeming our stories. He brings new life. We can start over. He’s the God of new beginnings and fresh starts.

One final thought: As I read Psalm 103:10-11, it struck me that it might be called the Old Testament version of 1 Jn. 2:1: “if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Commenting on this verse, the great Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Yes, though we sin, we have him still. . . . All the sin that a believer ever did or can be allowed to commit cannot destroy his interest in the Lord Jesus Christ as his advocate.”

O Lord, we do thank you for your great love. Psalm 103 is almost too much to take in; it’s too good to be true, so it confronts us with our unbelief. It seems easier to believe that forgiveness isn’t possible and that we’re forever consigned to live with our shame. So we ask you–I ask you–come into the prison of our fears, our guilt, our shame, and our unbelief, and speak peace to our restless hearts. Remind us again that you love us and we are free.


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