I wonder sometimes about repetitive sin. I wonder when I read about the Israelites and their continual plunge toward idolatry. I wonder about it in my children who know they will be punished and yet continue to repeat the same disobedient behavior. And, I wonder about it in myself as I fall again and again and again to the same old temptations.
It’s amazing how much insight into my own soul I can discover by reading through the Psalms. In this particular instance, it is a psalm of David that gives me a clue to some of my wondering.
Psalm 101 seems to be a song of commitment from David’s heart. He has a hunger for faithfulness, righteousness, and blamelessness, and he is expressing just how he intends to go about living that life. But, the last verse is the one that stood out to me the most.
Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land, so as to cut off from the city of the LORD all those who do iniquity. Psalm 101:8
Okay, so I won’t be destroying the wicked of the land or cutting banning sinners from any city, much less the city of the Lord. But, I still see this verse as being very applicable to my wonderings about repetitive sin.
First, let me share some parallels between this verse and what I see in my own life.
The wicked of the land. If I were to call my life “the land,” I can definitely see the wickedness that resides there. I hunger to be righteous and free from sin, but it lurks around every corner of my heart. It is a continual battle, and every time I think I’ve conquered one thing, another appears. Yes, my land definitely contains wickedness that must be destroyed.
The city of the Lord. In the Old Testament, everything revolved around the land. The Promised Land. Jerusalem. The temple. It was all physical. With Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension, that changed. The sacred moved. The temple went from stones and precious metals to flesh and blood. I am the temple. If you belong to Christ, then you are too. There is much in Biblical prophecy about the new Jerusalem and an actual city of God. But, as life stands right here, right now, our faith has no specific, hallowed ground. The only hallowed ground is my heart.
So, how do I destroy the wicked of the land? How do I cut off those who do iniquity from the city of the Lord?
The first two words of the verse hold the key…every morning.
When it comes down to it, those are the two words that really spoke to my wonderings. Those are the ones that truly convicted me.
Christ’s death on the cross makes me clean, once and for all. I am righteous before God, and I can stand before Him for eternity thanks to the blood of Christ. But, there is still a battle which rages inside of me between the wickedness and the righteousness. And just because the righteousness wins the battle today doesn’t mean that there won’t be need to fight that same battle tomorrow too, or maybe even a year from now.
The cleansing must be a daily thing. Every morning I must destroy that wickedness. Daily I must cleanse “the land.” Otherwise I will fall again to temptation. I will commit the same sin over and over and over again.
What do you see attacking your life of righteousness on a regular basis? What do you think you’ve conquered, only to find that it comes back at you again when you least expect it? Don’t just cleanse now and then when you see the problem arise. Be proactive. Dig in on a daily basis and destroy that wickedness for your land. Oh what growth you and I will see when we come for that daily cleansing!