To be honest with you, I have to say that I…
Have you ever noticed how brutally honest scripture is?
Currently I’m using Psalms and Lessons for the Christian Year from The Book of Common Prayer of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA as my daily Bible reading plan.
Today’s reading from Psalms was chapter 40. In verse 1, David writes, “I waited patiently for the LORD.” Why that’s a good start! He continues by speaking of all the good things that God has done. It’s interesting to me that The Book of Common Prayer reading stops with verse 16. It’s very encouraging that God has been good to David. Then there’s verse 17. David gets a bit more gut-wrenchingly honest: “But I am afflicted and needy.”
Next is Exodus, chapter 16 to be exact. Let’s review: (1) God brought the people out of Egypt after sending a lot of plagues on the Egyptians, (2) God lead them through the divided waters of the Red Sea on dry land and then drowned the Egyptian army, (3) God miraculously turned bitter water sweet so they could have a drink, and now, the people are saying they wished they had died in Egypt where there was plenty of food to eat. Complain, complain, complain. So, God provides quail and manna (but it doesn’t stop the disobedience and grumbling).
In fact, its consistency in showing the dark side of its heroes and the people of God is one of the arguments for the truthfulness of scripture. Let’s see, Abraham whose faith proclaimed him righteous didn’t trust that God would provide a son through Sarah, so he had a child with her maid. Then Judah, the ancestor of Jesus, led in selling his younger brother into slavery. And David, a man after God’s own heart, committed adultery and had a man murdered.
Finally, we move into the book of Hebrews, chapter 4, where the author writes about the unfaithfulness of the people of Israel during the days of the exodus.
I wonder how honest we really like to be. Did Honest Abe have shortcomings and failures that he didn’t want to share with anyone else? You and I are in that same boat. We don’t want to be completely honest with everyone (possibly anyone) around us. We like to hide parts of our lives from others. It’s just natural. But, we can have a problem when we fail to be honest with ourselves.
Of course, an even bigger issue is when we try to be dishonest with God. That one doesn’t work. Ever!
Hebrews 4:13 says, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him to whom we must answer.” Ouch!
So, to be honest with you, I have to say that I… oh my, that list has gotten longer since I started this article. Let’s just say that I am a sinner and that God knows all the details. He sees my failure. He sees my sin.
I do like the last verses of this chapter, because they give us hope.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let’s approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need. (Hebrews 4:15-16 NASB)
So, can we be honest? It may still be hard to do. However, we should at least be honest with ourselves and recognize that we have to be honest with God.
1 I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how he could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.
2 For me it was in the garden
He prayed, “Not my will, but thine;”
He had no tears for his own griefs,
But sweat drops of blood for mine.
3 He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them his very own;
He bore the burden to Calv’ry,
And suffered and died alone.
4 When with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see,
‘Twill be my joy through the ages
To sing of his love for me.
How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be;
How marvelous! How wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!
(“I Stand Amazed in the Presence” Words and Music by Charles H. Gabriel, 1856-1932)