(Prov 28:17 GW)  A person burdened with the guilt of murder will be a fugitive down to his grave.  No one will help him.

After a whille again continue our “Gleanings from thef Proverbs.  Any discussion about murder can get spirited very quickly.  The bottom line is that God created life and we are to honor it.  In Genesis Moses wrote, “If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands.  For God made human beings in his own image” (9:6).  Moses’ emphasis was not on death, but rather on honoring and respecting life.  Because we are made in the image of God, Moses made the point that human life is to be so respected that if someone took a life, shedding innocent blood, the payment would be his own life.  Later, as a spokesman for God, Moses wrote, “Anyone who assaults and kills another person must be put to death.  But if it was simply an accident permitted by God, I will appoint a place of refuge where the slayer can run for safety.  However, if someone deliberately kills another person, then the slayer must be dragged even from my altar and be put to death” (Exodus 21:12-14).  The respect for life was clear in Moses’ writings.  Interestingly enough, the Bible does address accidental deaths and it is clear that those situations should be handled differently (see Numbers 35:9-34 and Deuteronomy 19:1-13).

Back in chapter 6 of Proverbs, Solomon listed “hands that shed innocent blood” as one of the 7 things the Lord hates and which are an abomination to Him (6:17).  So it’s clear that God is against murder and that He honors life.  What Solomon mentions here is a person who has committed murder, but has somehow escaped the judicial system and is living with the guilt of his horrendous act.  Solomon seems to indicate that this person is on the run, avoiding the law, and having to look over his shoulder every day.  Living this way, his guilt will eat away at him all the days of his life.

So what does this mean to you today?  A couple of things:

1.  Guilt will burden and eat away at you.  Sin always brings shame, guilt, and condemnation.  If you don’t address the wrong you have done and receive forgiveness from the Lord, you can wreck your life living under the burden of guilt.

2.  We serve a burden-removing, yoke-destroying God.  There are no big or little sins in God.  While a murderer might still have to deal with the justice system of this world, he can receive forgiveness from God, and the remission of sin, through the blood of Jesus Christ.  As a forgiven person, he can then cast his care upon the Lord and his heavenly Father can remove every heavy burden and destroy every condemning yoke.  Sometime back  I had the blessed privilege of  being in jail for contempt of court and had the priviledge of preaching the Gospel in Jail.  After the Word was preached and we prayed, I am convinced that the group of men I left behind, while physically locked-up, they were spiritually free!  That’s the type of freedom and liberty we can experience in Christ Jesus!

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