(continued from part 1)
The way is narrow, but it gives hope to the hopeless.
‘But there is forgiveness with you, so you may be feared.’
God forgives the wrong-doer on the basis of the death of a suitable substitute. That’s the picture presented by the Old Testament temple service. The sinner is freely admitted to the favour of a holy God by the way that God himself supplies.
The work of saving is taken out of our hands. God provides all that is required. The sinner may (indicates permission) now fear God, because God has provided forgiveness.
The fear spoken of is not terror, but rather the word fear refers to an attitude of reverence and respect for God. Our attitude to our creator undergoes a great change because of his mercy.
We may worship him because our offence is removed and we are reconciled to our God. We may worship him because we now want to worship him.
I wait for God, my soul waits, and in his word I do hope.
Waiting on God means to live in the light of his statements that are given to us in the Bible. Our hope in the Lord, if it is to be a hope that is not disappointed, must be grounded upon what the Lord has told us. This makes the Bible most necessary.
In fact, we can know nothing reliable about the Lord Jesus except for the things that we read in the Bible. Jesus himself said that he must fulfil everything written about him in the Scriptures. The Jesus we are to trust is the one shown to us in the Bible.
But I think even more than this is meant in the idea of waiting for the Lord. The image given is that of the night watchman. His job was to walk the defensive walls of the city and watch for danger. In the dark, the enemy might attack or traitors might betray the city. The dark was a place of danger. What the watchman wished for was the coming of day. For light to come. For the safety of daylight.
In a similar way, these old testament Christians were waiting — looking forward to — the coming of light. For the Lord to come and save them from the darkness and danger of their sin.
Hope in the Lord, for with him is mercy and abundant redemption
He himself will redeem Israel from all his iniquity
Jehovah himself will come and save/redeem.
So, the Lord has come. Our Lord Jesus is the one the Psalmist longed for.
- Matthew 1:21; “You will call his name Jesus, (the LORD saves) because he will save his people from their sins.”
- Luke 2:10-11; “Today, in the city of David, is born to you a saviour, who is Christ the LORD.”
- John 2; Jesus said, ‘You destroy this temple, and I will raise it up in three days.’ (The narrow way has to do with who Jesus is and what he has done.)
- John 14; Jesus said, I am the way….
To redeem is to buy back. It is related to the old practice of paying a ransom to recover soldiers captured in war. It means to pay the necessary price to regain what was lost.
What did Jehovah-Jesus do to redeem? He knew the depth of our sinfulness when he took responsibility for it on the cross. He could say with the Psalmist, ‘Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord’. He also experienced the reality that the one who bears sin cannot stand in the judgment of God. ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!’ is what Jesus cried from the cross. He — the sinless one — died because of our sin. God did not spare his own son, but delivered him up for us all, as Paul says. He rose again after he had made propitiation for the sins of his people.
The Lord’s redemption is abundant. No supplement is needed. There is nothing that we can do or need to do in order to complete the work of Jesus Christ.
He himself has done it.
- Jesus’ perfectly good life replaces the miserably bad lives of his people:
- His death is regarded by God as the death we deserve. There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
- His resurrection from the dead provides righteousness for his people.
The redemption that Jesus provides is abundant, full, free and forever. The plea of the psalmist, all his concerns and hopes are met and satisfied in the life, death and rising of Jesus Christ.