The Blessing We Dread

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Psalm 32:3-4

We hate owning up. Maybe nothing is more painful than facing ourselves and admitting the ugly truth God shows us. We’d rather die than go there. So the Lord helps us get there by making us thoroughly miserable, until our hearts finally crack open, and the confession pours out. Then, what relief!

I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Psalm 32:5

It was when David came out in confession that, to his astonishment, he was “surrounded with shouts of deliverance” (verse 7) among God’s penitent people.

A strong evidence of revival power is when we get so fed up with our wretched excuses that we fall at the Lord’s feet, face into what we’ve been avoiding, and there discover new depths of his mercy for the undeserving. This is especially compelling when our confessions become public, as that may be appropriate. Consider this eyewitness account of revival in Korea from a missionary there in 1907:

“Then began a meeting the like of which I had never seen before, nor wish to see again, unless in God’s sight it is absolutely necessary. Every sin a human being can commit was publicly confessed that night. Pale and trembling with emotion, in agony of mind and body, guilty souls, standing in the white light of their judgment, saw themselves as God saw them. Their sins rose up in all their vileness, till shame and grief and self-loathing took complete possession; pride was driven out, the face of man forgotten. Looking up to heaven, to Jesus whom they had betrayed, they smote themselves and cried out with bitter wailing: ‘Lord, Lord, cast us not away forever!’ Everything else was forgotten, nothing else mattered. The scorn of men, the penalty of the law, even death itself seemed of small consequence, if only God forgave. We may have other theories of the desirability or undesirability of public confession of sin. I have had mine; but I know now that when the Spirit of God falls upon guilty souls, there will be confession, and no power on earth can stop it.”

The Lord is moving in our own day too, and we are grateful. But we are not yet consumed by this urgency to get right with God and with one another. We seldom hear such cries of repentance.

God longs to bless our churches and our ministries. But if we think, Our image must not suffer, then we don’t really want God’s blessing. And he knows how to take a hint.

But what if our long-unconfessed sins gush out in repentance before God and one another? We too will be “surrounded with shouts of deliverance” under the mighty outpouring of revival God will send down.

Ray Ortlund

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

%d bloggers like this: