4 “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
5 For your Maker is your husband,
the Lord of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth he is called.
It has been a little while since I have taken the time to write out some of my thoughts regarding a passage of Scripture from my daily reading. Busyness and excuses aside, I simply have not had the heart to take the time to write in this area lately. However., I need to do more here, to be more disciplined, to write even when I do not feel like it.
Then I read this passage for today: “for you will forget the shame of your youth.” How many of us live with regrets? How many of us still live with a feeling of being less than what God intends for us because of things we cannot go back and change? How many of us feel the sadness of wasted years, of foolish decisions, of sin?
To read God say to us that we will forget the shame of our youth, then, is something that is beyond amazing. Our sin was so great. We had earned for ourselves the wrath of God. We had earned for ourselves the fury of an infinitely perfect, infinitely holy, infinitely righteous judge. Our mistakes, our sin, our foolishness were inexcusable. In fact, God did not excuse them. Instead, if we know Christ, God punished those sins, pouring out his fury for our evil on Christ who willingly and intentionally took upon himself our guilt in order to satisfy God’s fury and allow us to experience God’s mercy for God’s glory.
The result of Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice is more than simply having us set back on neutral ground before God. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, God tells us that he made Christ, who knew no sin, to become sin on our behalf so that we might in turn become the righteousness of God. Thos who confess their sin and cling to Christ as their only hope of being right before God have more than forgiveness, they have God’s promise of perfection. Paul talked about this as the awaiting crown of righteousness for all who have loved Christ’s appearing in 2 Timothy 4:8.
This morning, I celebrate in my heart. I have been a fool more times than I could ever count. I have earned wrath and judgment. For God to then tell me, “for you will forget the shame of your youth,” is for me to hear God speak to me in promise of something totally joyous. I cannot look back on foolishness with any joy. However, I can look back and know that God has forgiven me, that he is changing me, and that he will perfect me in Christ. This motivates me to serve him more and more, to faithfully follow his word, to look forward to that future grace of being made truly righteous in Christ.