Psalm 118: 15 There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly; 16 the right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.” 17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord. 18 The Lord has punished me severely, but he did not give me over to death. 19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.
This passage starts with the writer making it clear he has gotten off track with the Lord, “The Lord has punished me severely” (v.18). And yet the writer also believes the Lord will open “the gates of righteousness”, effecting a restoration of his relationship with the Lord. In all of this it is God who is the one with agency, not the writer. Yes, God punishes, but God also restores. There is accountability with God toward his children, but there is also grace and hope.
This morning I find myself echoing verses 18-19 toward God. I have sinned against God. I have no excuse. I deserve judgment. And yet I call upon the Lord to turn me away from evil toward what is good. Heavenly Father, you can do this. I lay myself at your feet. Have mercy on me, a sinner, and make me whole. Amen.