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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Faithfulness Blocked by Guilt

I would love to sit down to a cup of tea with you and hear your thoughts about the Woman at Sidon. (Go to previous post for the beginning of our conversation about her.) Maybe you'd scowl at me because you think I'm being too hard on her. Maybe you'd defend her considering the huge loss of her son. Or maybe you're thinking she should have more faith and trust in God. After all, look at how faithful God has been in providing for her! 

I think we all can relate to her. There are times when we trust God's faithfulness and other times our faith crashes. We wonder, "Why can't I remain faithful and solid in my trust?"

One answer to that question is when we make assumptions. Let's look at the woman's comments again:  "So she said to Elijah, “What do I have to do with you, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my iniquity to remembrance and to put my son to death!” (I Kings 17:18).

I notice that this woman doesn't ask any questions. She doesn't say, "Elijah, what is going on? How can this be happening? I want to believe God is always good, but why is He doing this?"

She doesn't ask questions--she makes assumptions. She assumes that her conclusions about the current event is true. And at the foundation of her assumption is a long-held guilt and hidden sin. She believes her sin is finally revealed. What she'd tried to hide for so long is finally uncovered and discovered

In her thinking, it's as if God has taken notice of her when previously His eyes were blinded to her sin. Now He suddenly sees and exclaims, "Wow! Look at that woman's sin! How did that sneak by me all these years? Well, my blessings are gonna stop--that's all there is to it. Whatever made me think I should bless her? I made a big mistake. Off with her son's head!"

Now that lie is something I can relate to. Because in the past, I feared exposure. I feared that somehow God was not seeing my sin and it was just a matter of a short time before He'd slap his forehead and say, "What have I been thinking? Why didn't I see Kathy's sin before? I certainly don't want her to think she's forgiven. That will never do."

I'm so grateful that this lie doesn't affect me like it used to. I think I can honestly say that it has little influence upon me now. I'm very, very grateful because that's a horrible way to live.

Unfortunately, that is the way this Woman of Sidon had been living. How very sad. Because God doesn't want us to live like that. He wants us to be free! We are free of condemnation and fear of exposure. Romans 8:1 tells us, "There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus"! 

Yippee! God's eyes are not blind and at the same time, our sin is removed as far as the east is from the west through the redemption gained by Jesus on the cross. By the way, "where the east meets the west" is impossible to find because we are always going east or west. They don't actually meet. So God can't find those forgiven sins. Isn't that fabulous?

If you are living under the burden of fear of exposure, be assured that God is not loving you because He is unaware of some sin. He is loving you in spite of being aware of ALL of your sins. Nothing is hidden from Him and all of your sins are bundled together, covered by the blood of Jesus! That's amazing! 

Commentators Keil and Delitzsch write of this Gentile woman:

In this half-heathenish belief there spoke at the same time a mind susceptible to divine truth and conscious of its sin, to which the Lord could not refuse His aid. Like the blindness in the case of the man born blind mentioned in John 9, the death of this widow's son was not sent as a punishment for particular sins, but was intended as a medium for the manifestation of the works of God in her (John 9:3), in order that she might learn that the Lord was not merely the God of the Jews, but the God of the Gentiles also (Romans 3:29).

This woman assumed that her calamity was all about her! But her calamity was all about God! It was God's means of glorifying Himself and revealing His wonderful nature--especially that His love is for everyone--not just His chosen people. 

But her guilt blinded her to what was really going on. She felt ashamed and did not yet feel forgiven. 

In my next post, let's see what else we can gain from the Woman of Sidon. 

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