Exodus 5:22-7:25, Matthew 18:21-19:12, Psalms 23:1-6, Proverbs 5:22-23
Today is the 28th day of January. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It’s great to be here with you today as we kind of launch into the work week and prepare to take the next step as God’s word is washing into our lives. And, so, we can exhale whatever’s going on and just inhale some serenity allowing God to speak through His word. And then we’ll go back into whatever it is that we’ve got going on that might be overwhelming us, but we won’t go back alone, and we’ll have some perspective. So, from the Common English Bible this week, we’re picking up with the story of Moses, Exodus chapter 5 verse 22 through 7 verse 25 today.
Okay. So as we begin this this workweek we have some profound things to talk about in the New Testament. Peter comes in Jesus and he’s wanting to know, you know, like, what would be the generous…how to be merciful…how to look at the world, you know, how to let go of things, how many times should I forgive is his question. Like seven? Like if I forgave a person seven times of the same thing, like that would be long-suffering. So, he’s not like wrong. And, so, Jesus is, “no, like 77 times” or in some translations “70×7”. And I actually, when I was younger, got hung up on that number. I grew up in the church as I’ve mentioned and, you know, when I was younger I multiplied 70×7 and came up with 490 and really thought like you forgive people 490 times and then your good until somebody told me that that’s how many times that God would forgive me, 490 times and then I was scared to death for a long time because, you know, you sin every day, so you run…as a little kid thinking…I’m just…like…I won’t be able to make it…I won’t be able to make it into an adult before I’m like doomed. So, Jesus is talking about forgiveness and all of this and then he launches into this story. So, like to illustrate what He’s talking about. And sometimes Jesus will launch into a story and we’re like, “okay, we’re on a Jesus parable again”, not knowing that He’s telling a story to illustrate what He was already talking about. So, in this case Peter was asking Him about forgiveness and then Jesus launches into this story to illustrate what He’s talking about. And the story was about a servant who owed a lot, right, like an insurmountable amount. And he was gonna lose everything, like he was gonna be sold, like everything to pay the debt and the king forgave all of the debt. So, the king forgave him everything and let him go free. And then he goes to a person who owes him a significantly much less amount and throws that guy into prison. This is Jesus illustration to answer Peter’s question about forgiveness. What makes this so riveting and like impossible to ignore…like we literally ignore this at our own peril and the rest of our year will not work, like if we do not understand where we are being led by the Scriptures right now because God is going after some things at the beginning of the year because this is what the Bible’s bringing up. So, what Jesus tells Peter then after telling this story is that this is how it works. Yeah, I mean I’m pausing on purpose. Jesus is telling Peter that the story that he just told him, that’s how it works, and He sums it up by saying, “my heavenly Father” right? So, this is God, this is…this is God “will also do the same to you if you don’t forgive your brother or sister from your heart”, right? So. Jesus is eliminating this social veneer over the top, like wherever…like we’re all good…we’re all good…like and everybody’s pretending everything is good when you are raging inside, right, when you have just absolute… like its just tearing you up inside. Jesus is eliminating that option because it’s not real. He specifies, “from your heart”, right, so it’s got to be real. I realize you open up the can of worms about forgiveness and then everybody has a reason why there are certain people that cannot be forgiven for what they’ve done. And look, I’ve been in ministry a long time, I’ve been in pastoral ministry long time. People are capable of doing things that you really can’t even imagine, things that scar other people for their whole lives until they’re actually able to reach this point right here and let it go. So, like, I’m not in any way saying it didn't…like…that you don’t have a right to feel the way that you feel about forgiveness if you’re holding onto something. That’s not my argument, but I would remind us of the story of Joseph that we just came through and remind us all that he had every reason, every reason to hold onto unforgiveness and he didn’t, and we saw where that story led. And now we have the Savior of the world speaking from his own lips, telling a story that illustrates the same thing. So, this isn’t an optional thing in God’s kingdom, and there is a reason, and it has nothing to do with us letting other people go free for what they did to us or our family and everything to do with us allowing God to set us free from what happened. Forgiveness offers us…and look…I’m not trying to make this sound like…oh…it’s just so easy… all you gotta do is pray this magic prayer and all the pains gonna go away and you’re gonna be great. That’s not…I’m not saying there isn’t a process. What I’m saying is, Jesus has like laid down the gauntlet here on forgiveness and this isn’t the last time He’s gonna do it. So, we might as well get used to the fact that He's…like that God, through the Scriptures, is going after this and this is not the last time it’s gonna come up. Forgiveness isn’t letting anybody get away with anything. We’re not the Sovereign One, right? So, yeah, maybe injustice has happened to us and we feel like we need to make it right, either through bitterness and unforgiveness or through some sort of retribution. And yet, even if we pursue that and achieve that and they suffer for it, it still doesn’t set us free. Forgiveness is what sets us free. And forgiveness isn’t like disavowing that things happened. Forgiveness is saying, “I, inside of myself cannot carry this around anymore because this, even though it was unjust is poisoning me and I have to move on.” So, I can carry this entanglement and this anger and this rage and this bitterness the rest of my life or I can let it go, which is not saying it didn’t happen. It’s saying, “I can’t do anything more. I release all of it to God.” God is the judge. God can handle what needs to be handled. I can’t carry this because it’s destroying all my relationships and my life. And when I realize how much mercy I’m consuming on any given day, how much forgiveness I need to survive then I begin to realize how much mercy I need to offer because Jesus said that we’ll be forgiven the same way we forgive. So, what’s happening here is that Jesus is reaching out a hand of invitation and if we reach back and take it, yeah it might be painful to go back to things and let things go, but we’re moving forward and leaving these things behind.
Jesus, in an environment like this one we’re wrapped around the world but we’re holding what You’re saying in the Scriptures in common then how we bring this into our own life story is different for every single one of us in different cultures and in different contexts. And, so, Father, like the right words can’t come from just my mouth alone. Your Holy Spirit has to flood throughout this earth and invade earbuds on trains and in cars and wherever this may be Your Holy Spirit is. And, so, Holy Spirit come. It’s really easy to just keep taking steps forward, day by day and make our way through the Bible. With this particular issue, You just won’t let it go. And, so, how will we maintain our life and live into our life if we’re not gonna let You in here? So, come Holy Spirit into the areas of unforgiveness that we’re holding against ourselves and that we’re holding against others. This is not going to get us anywhere. And, so, we need to stop and begin to release. Come Holy Spirit, we pray this in Your holy and mighty name. Amen.