First let's say this and say it quickly: In the middle of a storm, it is not wrong to ask God, "Why?" Job asks God again and again. Various psalmists do the same in all those psalms of lament—far more of those type of psalms than any other, including psalms of praise. Clearly, God wanted us to know we can ask him. What He expects is that by studying the methods of those others we can learn how to move gradually from lament (complaint) to praise, and work ourselves out of a dangerous mindset. We would do well to study those psalms far more than we do now, camping right in the middle of them rather than clinging to Psalm 23 as if it were the be-all and end-all of the Psalms.
But the last half of that statement is far more dangerous to our souls than the first. "After all I've done for you?" Really? As if sin and good deeds is a tit for tat arrangement? As uncomfortable as it may be, we need some serious teaching on the enormity of sin. We need to hear from God's Word exactly how God feels about it. O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked (Ps 5:4). No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes (Ps 101:7). And I could go on.
And then we need some lessons on grace. When I was a child I heard exactly one lesson on grace. That's why I remember it. I must have been about 11 because I remember the building I was sitting in—even which side—and we only lived there for three years. One lesson in 20 years! And do you know why? Because we have fought false doctrine so long that it's as if we think grace and faith are denominational teachings. We are scared of them. No one can possibly say, "We are saved by faith," or "We are saved by grace," without instantly adding a qualifier. "Yes, but—"
And so we do not understand that nothing we do can save us. …All our righteous deeds are as filthy garments, Isa 64:6. O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive… (Dan 9:18-19a). Those Old Testament faithful understood grace better than we do!
We think of Lady Justice on the courthouse steps with the balances in her hand, assuming that we can load up one side with good deeds and they will outweigh the sins on the other side. What we don't understand is that one sin outweighs every other good deed we could possibly do. But when the righteous turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity… shall he live? None of his righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered: in his trespass that he has trespassed, and in his sin that he has sinned, in them shall he die (Ezek 18:24). To put it plainly, we have no right to call God on the carpet because we are experiencing trials in our lives. In fact, He has every right to send nothing but trials because all of us have sinned.
But here is the truly marvelous thing: even if one sin outweighs all our righteousness, one drop of God's mercy outweighs all our sins. But if the wicked turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and does that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of his transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him: in his righteousness that he has done he shall live (Ezek 18:21-22). Not because we deserve it. Never because we deserve it. But due to the grace and mercy of God, and the fact that we continue on in faith, despite our trials, trusting Him to keep His promises.
And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins (Ezek 33:12).
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Eph 2:8-9).