“He who covers a transgression seeks love,
But he who repeats a matter separates friends.” Proverbs 17:9

We all know that God is good, don’t we? No matter which religion you subscribe to, God is always good, and the devil is always bad. This moral dichotomy has been so ingrained into our collective consciousness that it has become second nature to think this way. So when I first came across Proverbs 17:9, I was wondering how a just and good God can advocate cover-ups?

And you know, when we look at other translations, it doesn’t get any better.

“Overlook an offense and bond a friendship;
fasten on to a slight and—good-bye, friend!” Proverbs 17:9 [MSG]

But if we leave God out of the discussion for a moment, and think about this at the human level, we realize that it is true, isn’t it?

If we can close an eye to the offences of our friends and forget about it, never mentioning it to anyone else again, we save relationships; because no one likes a rat. But that’s just us. That’s for us humans who are weak in body, mind and morals. Surely that can’t be for God? Surely God can’t simply cover up our sins, overlook them and sweep them under the carpet, can He?

If that thought has ever crossed your mind, then you are absolutely right. God cannot cover up and God will not overlook. He is a Holy God; and He can’t possibly have any part in dealings of such a nature. So how do we reconcile Proverbs 17:9 with God’s holy nature? Well, we dig further.

“He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends.” Proverbs 17:9 [AMPC]

You see, we are not merely told to ‘cover up’ or ‘overlook’. We are told to forgive, let go, see past the transgression and stop harping on it. Because that is exactly what God has done for us.

“For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;
For as I have sworn
That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth,
So have I sworn
That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.” Isaiah 54:9

You know, when some people read this verse, they get the impression that God was doing this out of pity; that He was merely overlooking and covering up our sins and transgressions. ‘Boys will be boys’ says the Lord, and girls, perhaps not much better.

But if we read the verse carefully, we see that there is a non-coincidental reference to another event in the Bible, that of Noah’s flood. So what happened during the flood of Noah?

“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” Genesis 6:5-7

So God sent the flood to wipe out all the evil that was on the earth. There was no cover up, there was no overlooking sin then, was there? So when God Himself says,

“For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;
For as I have sworn
That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth,
So have I sworn
That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.” Isaiah 54:9

Yes, He will not be angry with us; yes, He will not rebuke us; but you can also bet your bottom dollar that there will be no cover up, no overlooking our sin; else, how can ‘this’ be ‘like the waters of Noah’ to Him? The waters were sent to purify. They were sent to cleanse. So there must be some mechanism put in place to cleanse and purify us before God can stop being angry with us and not rebuke us – and that ‘mechanism’ is the sacrifice of Jesus.

You see, Jesus’ sacrifice fulfills every possible concept of substitutional atonement the world has ever known. Asian and western, ancient and modern, literal and symbolic; Jesus’ sacrifice meets every demand, satisfies every statue in every law known to man, to qualify Him as being our substitute for our punishment of sin. Don’t believe me?

In the past, “If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally by doing any of the things the Lord has commanded not to be done, and becomes guilty, if his sin which he has committed is made known to him, then he shall bring a goat, a female without blemish as his offering for the sin which he has committed.” Leviticus 4:27-28 [AMP]

“If he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring a female without blemish. He shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering [transferring symbolically his guilt to the sacrifice], and kill it as a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering.” Leviticus 4:32-33 [AMPC]

Now, when John the Baptist saw Jesus, this is what he said,

“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

So symbolically, Jesus’ sacrifice met the statues of the day and it would have been appropriate for us to have Him be our substitutional atonement because, just like the lamb brought to the temple as a sacrifice, when Jesus sacrificed Himself for us, our guilt would have been symbolically transferred to Him.

But the efficacy of His sacrifice did not end there. During the times of the crusades, the general rule was ‘and eye for an eye’; and so the guilty hands of thieves were unceremoniously chopped off as punishment and restitution.

Now, think back on all the sins that you have committed in your life. What kind of punishment do you think you would have needed to endure and restitution do you think you would have needed to make if you were living during the times of the crusades? So that is why Isaiah says,

“Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” Isaiah 53:4-5 [AMPC]

The lashes, the shame, the taunting, every punishment imaginable, all fell on Jesus. What you think you would have deserved, He bore, so that you don’t have to. It was as if you were on trial and Jesus said, ‘I’ll take that for him. Here, take Me instead and let him go.’

And you know what? Jesus actually said that.

“Then He asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?”
And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,” that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.”” John 18:7-9

Our Father has allowed it to come to pass that sinful men, driven by sinful desires focused their attention on Jesus as The One to be punished, so that He could be the substitute for us all and tell Satan to let us go our way.

And if we look at how the legal systems have evolved, we realize that nothing much has changed, has it? There are still consequences for offences but someone else can still take your place for you. Obviously no one in their right mind would be punished for another. But how many times have you heard parents say that they would have gladly changed places with their wayward child and gone to jail for them? Indeed, how many times have gangland underlings taken the rap for their bosses?

So you see, when God said,

“For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;
For as I have sworn
That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth,
So have I sworn
That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.” Isaiah 54:9

He wasn’t covering anything up at all. He could rightly and justly say that because, as David tells us,

“As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12

Indeed, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;” Psalm 103:10-11

Beloved child of God, that you are forgiven is not a case of God sweeping your sins under the carpet. Neither has He put your sins on the backburner, waiting to rake them all up and count them to you the next time you slip up. Jesus has removed all your sins, taken your punishment for you, once and for all. And because He has done that, because God is just,

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

So “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

Don’t run and hide. Don’t shy away any longer. There is no reason to anymore. Come and receive all the blessings of provision and protection that our Father has planned for you. Come and justly experience His love and care, for you are no longer guilty, but righteous forever in Christ.

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