I want to give you a text from Micah 7. I wish that you could all learn the secret of gutsy guilt. I am thinking especially of those of you who have fragile personalities, who are very sensitive to your own failures, who are always feeling defeated, who wonder if you are a Christian half the days of your life. I would just love to build into you some gutsy guilt. So let’s go to Micah — a little prophesy in the Old Testament. Listen and see if you could identify what I mean by gutsy guilt as I read this amazing New-Testament glimpse of justification by faith alone. Micah 7:7–9,
But as for me, I will look to the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation;
my God will hear me.
Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;
when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be a light to me.
I will bear the indignation of the Lord
because I have sinned against him,
until he pleads my cause
and executes judgment for me.
He will bring me out to the light;
I shall look upon his vindication.
Let me just guide you through that in the order that makes the most sense to me.
Step one in verse 8: “When I fall, I shall rise.” So he has fallen.
Step two in verse 9: “Because I have sinned against him.” So that is the nature of the fall. He sinned. The prophet sinned. I don’t know what he did. I am glad I don’t know what he did, because I can fill in my own there.
Step three up in verse 8 again: “Rejoice not over me, O my enemy.” Do you see what the enemy is doing? “Ha ha, Christian, you sinned. Christian sinned. You are not what you say you are.” Oh, how often the Devil and others can come at us. “Rejoice not over me, O my enemy.”
Step four in verse 9: “I will bear the indignation of the Lord,” meaning, “Okay, I have sinned. I am sitting here in my dust and ashes. I feel terrible. I feel rotten. And I am going to bear it. God is mad at me.”
“We must get gutsy with the Devil and gutsy with our own condemning souls.”
Fathers get mad at sons. Did you know that? This is not wrath. This is not punitive. This is not judgment of a final kind. This is a fatherly, “I am mad at you. You sinned against me. You made my name look stupid, and I don’t like it.”
Step five: Watch him now. He has got guilt, and it becomes really gutsy. He is clearly guilty. He doesn’t like the way he feels, and he is bearing indignation. It is dark. And now back up in verse 7, near the end. “My God will hear me.” And look at the phrase just before that: Therefore, “I will wait for the God of my salvation.”
See the gutsiness of this guilt is starting to show here. “Yes, he is mad at me. Yes, I am sitting in the dark. Yes, I am under his indignation. Yes, I feel guilty and rotten. And I am going to wait here as long as it takes for my God to become the God of my salvation, to show him to be the God of my salvation.”
Now at the end of verse 8: “When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.” Well, now are you in darkness or are you in light? “I am in darkness. I feel awful. It is late at night. I just did a terrible thing this afternoon at work. I said something I shouldn’t have said, or I did something, or I have been exposed for something that I have been doing for a long time on my taxes, or I would like to die.”
And in that guilt he says, “God will be a light to me.” That is gutsy. This is what a justified sinner must learn to do. We must get gutsy with the Devil and gutsy with our own condemning souls. And we must say, “There is enough of a ray of light. Just a little sliver of light shining in here to me.”
Now in the middle of verse 9: I am going to wait here “until he pleads my cause.” “I have got an advocate. Yes, he is frowning. Yes, he is indignant — and he is my advocate.” Can you do that? Have you got the theological, spiritual framework in your brain to be feeling guilty and get gutsy to say that God is both angry with me and interceding for me? It is easier for us to do it on this side of the cross, because we see who is the interceder, right?
And then that amazing statement right after that in verse 9: “until he pleads my cause and executes judgment.” And you think he might say, “Against me,” but he doesn’t say, “Against me.” He says, “For me.” Listen to this guy talking to the Devil or talking to his own soul, and saying, “Yes, I sinned. Yes, God is angry with me. Yes, I feel guilty. Yes, it is dark. There is a little sliver of light. God is going to become my salvation. God is going to intercede for me. God is going to exercise judgment on you, enemy. Do not rejoice over me.”
“Rejoice not over me, O my enemy. When I fall, I will rise.”
If that isn’t gutsy guilt, I don’t know what is. I don’t know how people live who don’t learn the secret of gutsy guilt, because I sin every day. I sin every day.
I love the gospel. I love the grace of God. I love the cross of Jesus. And I love to fight for joy as a justified sinner, and I hope you get it. I hope the Holy Spirit would just come now and grant you illumination so that you sense the sweet sufficiency of the blood and righteousness of Christ, like granite under your feet as all the darkness beats against your life, so that you can say,
“Rejoice not over me, Devil. Rejoice not over me, O my enemy. When I fall, I will rise. Yes, I will sit here for a season. I don’t know how long it is going to take the Lord to break in on my heart and completely vindicate me and restore me. I hope it is sooner rather than later, but I am going to wait, because he is on my side and will execute justice for me.”
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