TO CHEW ON: "If you, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord who could stand?" Psalm 130:3
Iniquities is an old-fashioned word we don't often use in everyday talk. However, the psalmist uses it here to tell us an uncomfortable fact about ourselves that remains true even if we no longer use the word. According to a word Wealth article in my Bible:
[Iniquities - (avon) means evil, fault, sin, iniquity, guilt, blame, moral illness, perversion, crookedness. It's derived from avah which means to bend or distort. Thus iniquity is the "evil bent' within human beings or the "crooked" direction or "warped" deeds of sinners - Dick Mills, Word Wealth, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 788.]
Think about that for a bit as it relates to us. No matter how our society tries to downplay that evil bent, even contradict it, have we not seen that sneaky self inside who wants its own way (selfishness), goes after honor and attention (pride), secretly desires the biggest and best (greed), yearns to have the stuff and good fortune of others (covetousness), etc.?
Cain used the word iniquity way back in the beginning when he said, after killing his brother in a jealous rage, "My punishment (iniquity) is greater than I can bear" - Genesis 4:13. That would be the reaction of each one of us—too much to bear.
What is the solution to this inborn natural tendency to be crooked? It's not in us. But it is with God:
"There is forgiveness with You," says the psalmist here (Psalm 130:4)
Isaiah makes it clear that forgiveness is in a specific person, the Suffering Servant, the Messiah—Jesus:
"He was bruised for our iniquities … and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all … For He shall bear their iniquities" - Isaiah 53:5, 6, 11.
What a gift of grace for us to ponder and give thanks for as we approach Good Friday and Easter when we commemorate Jesus' death. He carried all our iniquities on the cross. With that act God was able to forgive and our iniquity is no longer held against us as a death-worthy crime.
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Your forgiveness, rooted in Your substitutionary atonement on the cross. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.