Seeing God Through the Psalms

Seeing God Through the Psalms

“I Repent Because I Love You”

Categories: Seeing God Through the Psalms

I Repent Because I Love You

The second theme out of Psalm 119 is repentance. Maybe you’re a bit discouraged while you read through Psalm 119—and not just because it’s so long. After all, it can be spiritually distressing to read verse after verse basically about how much this psalmist loves rules. By the time you get to v. 164 and read “seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules” you might start thinking about the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14 pretentiously “thanking” God for how absolutely fabulous he is at obeying all the rules. That kind of tone can be disheartening on an average weekday, particularly if you have not been fabulous at rule-keeping lately.

Don’t let it get to you. The difference between that Pharisee and the psalmist is this: the psalmist knows he is in fact sinful and desperately needs God’s grace. Despite all the ways he goes on about loving the law, there is also petition and repentance. The psalmist pleads for God’s salvation (vv. 41, 81, 123, 166, 174), and desires mercy (vv. 77, 156). He knows that life—his life—is not perfect. In fact, the psalm ends in the key of repentance: “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments” (v. 176a).
So acknowledging sin and loving the law are fully compatible according to this psalm.

That is the beauty of Christ’s sacrifice for us. We cannot keep the Word of the Lord perfectly; He knows this and has provided a way for us to still gain His mercy and grace. It is through this action of acknowledgement and repentance. The asking of forgiveness and if you can be counted as one of His own He lovingly says, with out-stretched arms, welcome home child.