Godly Sorrow for Sin

Today is Saturday, March 9, 2013. Not feeling real great today. I hope that it’s more allergy symptoms and not a cold coming on, especially since we have plans to get away to our favorite cabins in Glen Rose next weekend.

Today is Panic Day. I prefer, however, to follow the advice of Douglas Adams. Don’t panic. And always remember your towel.

Today is a day of chores. There is grocery shopping to be done. We have library books due. Christi’s car needs an oil change and inspection. I’m sure there is laundry that needs to be done and dishes that need to be done. But there is no hurry, and most certainly no need to panic!

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
On this date in 1796, future Emperor Napoleon was married to Josephine in a civil ceremony. He was 26 (but presented himself as 28 by using his brother’s birth certificate) and she was 32 (but presented herself as 29). Their marriage was rocky, at best. At one point, while he was campaigning in Egypt, Josephine had an affair with another army officer, “a scandal that almost brought on divorce.” She talked Napoleon into forgiving her and convinced him to have a church wedding on December 1, 1804, “the day before he was crowned by the Pope.” Even so, there was mutual infidelity, and the marriage was pretty much over by 1810, and was given the coup de grace by the state, as they had produced no heir.

Today’s birthday is Bobby Fischer, born on this date in 1943. Fischer was an American Chess Grandmaster, and the 11th World Chess Champion. He was considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time. At one point in his life, however, he was pretty much an “outlaw,” living in Iceland because he had played an “illegal” chess match. He played a match against Boris Spassky, which took place in Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was currently under a UN embargo, and this led to a conflict with the U.S. government. In 2004-2005, after his U.S. passport was revoked, he was detained in Japan. However, Iceland granted him full citizenship in 2005, after which Japan released him to go to Iceland. Such dangerous criminals, these chess players. Right up there with Martha Stewart. Sadly, Fischer passed away in 2008.

Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my groaning. Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. Psalm 5:1-3
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

I pray, along with this psalmist, that my words and meditations might be pleasing and acceptable in your sight today. I pray for a glimpse of your face this morning.

Today, I’m reading Isaiah 30:29-33.

29 You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel.
30 And the LORD will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones.
31 The Assyrians will be terror-stricken at the voice of the LORD, when he strikes with his rod.
32 And every stroke of the appointed staff that the LORD lays on them will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres. Battling with brandished arm, he will fight with them.
33 For a burning place has long been prepared; indeed, for the king it is made ready, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it.

The Lord will fight for his people and strike terror into the hearts of their enemies. He will give us a song in the night.

Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “I Am Sorry for My Sin.” The scripture reading is Psalm 38:1-4, 17-18.

1 O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath!
2 For your arrows have sunk into me, and your hand has come down on me.
3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin.
4 For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.
17 For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me.
18 I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.

This psalm of David’s gives a long, detailed list of physical infirmities as he confesses his sin before the Lord. He looks at his illness as a sign of God’s judgment, finally getting to the point of everything in verse 18. This is a great model of accepting responsibility for sin. While it is not always healthy to view illness or physical infirmity as God’s judgment (every time we get a cold is not an indication that the Lord is angry with us over something), it is most certainly spiritually healthy to maintain an attitude of accepting responsibility for our actions. At these times, all that is necessary is, “I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.”

I don’t know that I can identify a time when I was so burdened by sin that it made me physically ill, but I can certainly remember times of deep mental distress while contemplating the effects of my iniquity. At those times, “the simplest of heartfelt confessions is all we need.” Note the word “heartfelt” in there. We must guard against the “I’m sorry I got caught” mindset. Confession is invalid if the heart is not in it.

Father, when I sin against you, may your Spirit convict me immediately to come before you with heartfelt confession, and then may you grant me repentance. I pray that I would not allow sin to fester within until physical infirmities erupt, as in the case of David in this psalm. I would deal with them promptly, that my fellowship with you would remain untainted. May I always be one who willingly accepts responsibility for my sin, not trying to pawn it off on someone else, always trying to point the finger of blame in another direction. No one has ever held a gun to my head and forced me to commit a sin. Every sin that I have ever committed has been willfully done, and, sometimes, to my shame, even cheerfully done. However, I will not dwell in the tent of past sins, as they are long forgiven and forgotten. I speak only of the future, desiring that my fellowship with you be ever growing and ever intimate.

I pray for this day ahead of us. May we get our tasks done today, and then spend the rest of the day resting. Prepare our hearts for serving you during the worship celebration tomorrow morning. I also pray that this congestion/drainage, or whatever it is will dissipate quickly.

True confession must include heartfelt sorrow for sins committed, taking full responsibility.

Grace and peace, friends.

8 thoughts on “Godly Sorrow for Sin

  1. I love the story of Bobby Fischer, at least the way it’s portrayed in the movie about his childhood. I think it’s called SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER. I think.
    Hope you feel better so you can get away!

  2. I love that verse Isaiah 30:29. I actually set it to music one time (from the King James) and got a whole song out of it, with a repeated ending. The Word is amazing.

  3. By the way, “Searching for Bobby Fischer” is a great movie, but it must not be the one you’re thinking of. It’s about a fictitious young chess player in New York, who has a street chess teacher and a classical teacher. They both show up at his match at the end, where he beats the bad guy (another kid from the Greenwich Village scene.) Great movie — I’ve seen it several times, and strongly recommend it.

      1. Yeah — when I scrolled up, I didn’t realize I was talking to the previous commentator (?) and not to you. I remember a friend recommending it, and me then seeing it with another friend. There was a lot of substance in that movie — I’ve long listed it as one of my five favorites (on Internet sites and what-not.) Have a blessed day…

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