More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause; mighty are those who would destroy me, those who attack me with lies. What I did not steal must I now restore? (Psalm 69:3) Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. (Matthew 5:25-26)
Compared to our criminal justice system where a convict is sentenced to a fixed period of idleness, and the victim gets nothing, the ancient Israelites had a better system. It was based on the idea of restoration. For example, if you stole an ox you were required to restore two oxen or if a sheep, two sheep. It was all aimed at restoration. You get to fix your mistakes and the victim is compensated. In Psalm 69:3 David is complaining about being unjustly pursued by his enemies who attack him with lies and demand that he restore what he has not stolen. However, according to the New Testament, this Psalm is all about Jesus Christ. In this Psalm, the Spirit of Christ through David, speaks of Christ’s suffering. Think again of these amazing words in the mouth of Jesus: “What I did not steal must I now restore?” Christ was forced to restore what He did not steal. What was stolen? God’s honour. God’s glory. God created us to glorify Him. We are meant to give Him thanks and praise and joyful obedience. But we stole that from Him. We neither glorified Him nor did we give Him thanks but our foolish hearts were darkened. We lived on His planet, breathed His air, ate His food all in defiance of Him. We have all stolen from God. The problem is that we can never restore what we owe. If ever we are to avoid jail someone else will have to pay all our debts. Jesus Christ is that Someone. He restores what He did not steal. He comes to earth and lives a perfect life of joyful obedience to the Father, delighting in His will. He hangs upon the cross bearing the penalty that is ours. He restores to God all the honour and all the glory that God is so rightly owed. Jesus Christ pays God back in full on our behalf. Little wonder that Jesus’ well-known cry upon the cross, “It is finished” was often used in commercial transactions and meant that a debt was fully discharged. No wonder Christians love to sing, “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.” PRAY that Jesus would settle your account. Ask Him to fully discharge all that you owe God. And then, let no debt remain outstanding, except the debt of love.