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Several states have “Three Strike laws. Under this policy, a judge is required to issue a 25-year sentence even if the offense is minor, such as shoplifting. A debate still rages over whether such a law is fair. Many believe it affects minorities unfairly. Ancient Israel pleaded with God to show mercy to them despite their accumulated sins. God rescued them from Egyptian slavery and established a covenant with them. Under the covenant, God promised to be their God if they stayed away from idolatry and obeyed Him. Despite agreeing to do this, they broke their covenant repeatedly. God finally permitted their enemies to invade their land. Their enemies violated their temple, destroyed the city, slaughtered many people, and deported thousands into other lands. Psalm 79 records their lament and prayer to God. In captivity, they remember the covenant God made with them. Based on that covenant, they plead with God to come to their rescue. The psalmist asks, “How long will you be angry with us? Forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire? Do not hold us guilty for the sins of our ancestors. Help us, save us, forgive us, for the glory of your name.” Like ancient Israel, we all come short of God’s expectation of us. The Bible teaches that God will wipe our guilty record clean and bind us to Himself forever if — we come to Him by faith in Jesus Christ His Son.

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