Shame and the Christian - Psalm 119:6
Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments (Ps. 119:6).
Shame is real. It is the experience that we something that we wanted hidden is revealed. It is what we feel when sins that we would rather have in the dark are brought out into the light. God knows everything. There is nothing that is hidden to him.
None of your sins are hidden from the eye of the Lord, which sees everything.
Here the psalmist explains that the root of our shame is disobedience and a lack of single-hearted devotion to following after the life of God as it is laid out in the law. But the psalmist wants to not be ashamed, and he sees that one of the purposes of the law is to keep us from shame. God has not given us the law in order to shame us. He has given us his word in order to keep us from shame. When we respect and obey God’s commandments, we avoid shame.
Respecting God’s commandments means that we honor the fact that God has a right to tell us how this place works. He has the authority to define the world for us because he is the creator, not only of the world, but also the creator of us. Respecting the law is another way of saying that we believe that what God says about the world is true. It is another way of saying that we trust God’s word.
God’s word has the authority of God as the creator and sovereign king over creation. And the psalmist tells us here that, in his word, God has told us how to avoid shame. God has told us the way that he has created the world. There are mysterious things about the world.
There are things hidden and difficult to understand. Avoiding shame is not one of those things. God has plainly told us how to avoid shame. Live the life described and prescribed by the law of God. The life that is the life of the Triune God.
But we have sinned. We have done shameful things. We have lived lives that have uncovered ourselves before God and before one another. This would be the end if we had to fix ourselves. We would do no better than Adam and Eve when they tried to hide their shame with fig leaves.
But God, who is rich in mercy, came to us in Christ Jesus. But God, who is rich in grace, sent his son to become one of us. But God, who is rich in mercy, sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross for us. But God, who is rich in mercy, allowed his son Jesus to be stripped naked, taking our shame upon himself, so that his death could be the death of our shame. And not the death of our shame only, but he has taken the shame of all those that believe in him, those near and those far, and nailed it to the tree in his body. Though we were ashamed, we are now covered in the righteousness of Christ.
Confess all that you are ashamed of, and be covered by God’s mercy.