Scripture Focus: Psalm 31.1-2, 16-17
1 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
2 Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
16 Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.
17 Let me not be put to shame, Lord,
for I have cried out to you;
but let the wicked be put to shame
and be silent in the realm of the dead.
Reflection: From Shameless to Blameless
By John Tillman
In many psalms, experiencing or avoiding shame is connected to the absence or presence of God. The shame David prophesied for his enemies is caused by being separated from God. And even though, in life, David will experience slander and shame, ultimately, his accusers will be shown to be liars and he will be vindicated.
God’s face shining on us is assurance against shame. But how can we see God’s face and live? How can we stand before God without shame? Shouldn’t we still feel the same sinful shame that drove Adam and Eve into the shrubs, naked and afraid, hiding from God and each other?
And what of David? Was he sinless? Did he not take vengeance, commit war crimes, commit adultery by taking multiple wives and concubines in addition to taking (and possibly raping) Bathsheba? Did he not commit murder? Did he not both order the death of his enemies by his own power and plead with God for divine vengeance against others? Is there a crime his accusers could name that would NOT be true? Why should he be vindicated? How can he, or we, be blameless?
Those unashamed of sin, reveling in and defending their sin, will be shamed. These people argue that their sins of pride are just walking in their gifting, their sins of lust are just following desires God gave, and their sins of greed are just rejoicing in God’s financial blessings. They call God culpable and themselves innocent.
We cannot shamelessly sin and stand before God. Those who acknowledge their sins before God, instead of defending them, will find acquittal instead of condemnation. David’s only hope and refuge from shame is being delivered into the righteousness of God. So is ours.
Christ was shamed that we could be called righteous. Christ destroyed the mechanism of shame by taking the full force of its blows on the cross yet rising victorious forevermore. The glory and righteousness he gained, he gives to the humble and repentant.
It is into Christ’s righteousness that we flee for defense against shameful sin. There we are remade into the likeness of his righteousness.
Who are we today?
Are we shamelessly sinful, defending our sins?
Or are we humbly repentant, called blameless ONLY in Christ?
Let us come to him confessing and mournful, that we may go out rejoicing and professed as righteous.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; wash me, and I shall be clean indeed. — Psalm 51.8
– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle
Read more about In the Face of Mockery and Shame
To some crucifixion is simply extreme punishment…But crucifixion carries another, important implication—shame.
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We often are so unwilling to renounce anything. So unwilling to part with anything. So unwilling to lay down anything.