A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Thursday, December 3, 2020
Duke, a Lancaster Mounted Unit police horse in front of Central Market in downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Message summary: We can conceal or confess.
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“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8,9).
"Cover-up" is a word we often associate with politics but there are cover-ups in every sphere of life.
Today we want to share a story from over twenty years ago when we lived in New England that is an example of an attempted cover-up. Click here to skip to exposition.
We often visited the historic Old Sturbridge Village, which is a recreated community of 40 original buildings with costumed staff in keeping with a typical rural New England town of the 1830’s. We enjoyed our visits there as a family and one year we attended the Thanksgiving service in the old meetinghouse as pictured to the left. The parson preached a sermon that had been written 100 years earlier, yet the message was pertinent since it was based upon the timeless words of Scripture.
Brooksyne took Ester each September when it was Home School Day at Sturbridge. It was in the fall of 2000 when Ester was 11 years old that they witnessed something a little out of the ordinary. Brooksyne recalls the story:
Ester and I had a great day touring the village with other home schooling families and learning more about the lifestyle consistent with the early 1800’s. Before we took the long drive home I decided to stop in at a cafeteria style restaurant on the grounds where the food was set out on a buffet and people selected what they wanted as they went through the line. It was late afternoon and the cafeteria was nearly empty except for Ester and me.
After we sat down to eat our light meal I happened to observe the staff that were beginning some clean-up work around the food. Then, out of the blue, a young worker suddenly stuck his two fingers deep into the over-sized whipped cream bowl, pulled them out and licked the cream from his fingers, kind of like licking an ice cream cone. It was one of those incredulous moments when you scratch your head, squint your eyes and say to yourself, “I didn’t just see that, did I!”
He must have been reading my mind. As I was still reeling from the sight I had just witnessed. To make sure that I wasn’t just imagining things he repeated the disgusting act while looking straight at me. It was as though he was gloating in his crude behavior. Afterward he vigorously stirred the topping with the dipper, but this time he plunged his fingers into the filled dipper for a third round of "finger samplings".
He then tried to cover-up his deed with a large serving spoon gleefully stirring the topping to fill in the cavern he had made with his fingers. The whipped topping was good as "new"! Perhaps he reasoned that by distributing his germs throughout the entire bowl he was diluting them to the degree they would not be harmful to anyone! His smoothing over the top was evidence that he wanted to cover up what he had done. I wonder how long he had been in charge of the whipped topping bowl. (I was relieved that I hadn’t dipped from it and today I'm relieved that coronavirus was non- existent at the time.)
The food services employee demonstrated a literal attempt to conceal his wrongdoing! Isn’t that the way many deal with sin? Conceal the offense by trying to smooth over the visible part others might view. Smooth over with the outward appearance but allow the sin to linger within.
Among man’s many remedies for the sin problem is the feeble attempt to cover-up. Adam and Eve tried it first but their act was followed by many in Scripture and of course all throughout history. Numbers 32:23 states, "Be sure that your sin will find you out". God’s only remedy for sin is Christ and our responsibility is confession and repentance which involves turning away from the sin.
David tried to cover-up after his sin with Bathsheba. It was a progressive attempt beginning with deceit, misuse of power, forcing others to do wrong such as Joab the Commander, and ending with multiple murders (see 2 Samuel 11:17).
But God sees. He always sees. We may very well fool our fellow human and get by for a while but we never fool God. We may deceive ourselves and feel the cover-up worked but ultimately a price will be paid. Sin is often wrapped in lovely packaging but it carries a significant price tag to those who make the purchase.
When David sinned God was watching and "the thing David had done displeased the LORD". It remains a constant on this side of eternity that "he who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy".
This Proverb is mirrored in one of the great New Testament promises. We urge you to receive and practice it today. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Merciful Father, may I never consider my good works or righteous acts to be payment or a cover-up for the hidden sin I harbor in my heart. Instead I want my attitude to be that of the publican in Luke who humbly came before You and cried out, "God be merciful to me a sinner!" If I exalt myself it will lead to my downfall. But if I humble myself I will exalt You. So I come to You with a contrite heart, confess my sins, and ask Your forgiveness through Christ Jesus my Lord and Savior. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Slow Fade" Video Casting Crowns This song has an outstanding message about sin.
"Create In Me A Clean Heart" Video Keith Green
"The Consequences Of A Moral Failure" Webpage This material was adapted from a "Leadership" magazine article by Randy Alcorn and Eternal Perspective Ministries and is personalized for my own use and personal impact. I encourage every man and woman to adapt this for their own use or better yet start from scratch and develop your own.
I took today's lead photo in front of the Central Market in Lancaster many years ago. It's the largest size I have but I sure wish it was larger! Several years ago I received an interesting email from the commander of our Lancaster City Police Mounted Unit who had come across the photo. He wrote that the horse's name was Duke and he told me he was black when the police force first received him. In my photo he looks gray and white. He is white in the photo below!
Another photo of the Lancaster City Police Mounted Unit with Duke appearing to be getting a bit frisky.
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