Clean Faces

The sorrows of those who take another god
for themselves will multiply;
I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood,
and I will not speak their names with my lips (Psalm 16:4 HCSB).

I will remove the blood from their mouths
and the detestable things from between their teeth.
Then they too will become a remnant for our God;
they will become like a clan in Judah,
and Ekron like the Jebusites (Zechariah 9:7 HCSB).

For David in Psalm 16, one aspect of his devotion to Yahweh was his abstinence from pagan offerings and from calling to them in prayer. David is satisfied with the LORD’s allotment of his inheritance (“the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places”), which for him was part of the tribal portion of Judah.

The Zechariah text is an interesting parallel to Psalm 16. “Their” refers to the Philistines, upon whom God is pronouncing judgment. The cities of verses 5-6 are Philistine cities, and verse 6 ends by explicitly stating the judgment against that race:

Ashkelon will see it [the judgment of Tyre] and be afraid;
Gaza, too, and will writhe in great pain,
as will Ekron, for her hope will fail.
There will cease to be a king in Gaza,
and Ashkelon will see it and be afraid.
A mongrel people will live in Ashdod,
and I will destroy the pride of the Philistines (Zechariah 9:5-6 HCSB).

The miracle of grace is that verse 7 follows these verses. The blood that is removed from the mouths of the Philistines is the blood David refused to offer in his devotion. The Philistines are already defiled, and yet God removes their defilement from them. He takes away the unclean meat in their teeth. He undoes all that they have done to defile themselves, and grants them even greater grace on top of that: He makes them “like a clan in Judah.”

Defiled Philistines become part of God’s people by the sheer grace of forgiving, transforming grace.

Jesus Christ still saves sinners by forgiving, transforming grace and makes us part of His people. Hallelujah!

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