Scripture: Psalm 51:1-12
This psalm is a prayer for forgiveness by David after the prophet Nathan had spoken to him about his adultery with Bathsheba. David also had Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, killed in battle so that he could take her as his wife. What does David’s prayer for forgiveness from his terrible sins offer to us in this Lenten Season?
“Create a pure heart in me, O God, and put a new loyal spirit in me.”
What led to this request? David pleads with God for His forgiveness, admitting his faults and sins for coveting Bathsheba, having sex with her (another man’s wife) and being the father of her child.
“You are right to judge me; you are justified in condemning me.
I have been evil from the time I was born; from the day of my
birth I have been sinful.”
Surely he means that he had the potential for such sin if there was an opportunity.
Are we like David? As humans, we are likely to have such human emotions and desires (dare I say faults) that may tempt us to sin—even if not in such a covetous way!
In the scripture passage, David was not going to repent and denounce his faults and sins until he was confronted with them by Nathan. Do we also only admit faults and sins when we are caught? Do we have the courage and the righteousness to never fault or sin? I think that it is part of the human condition to be tempted and occasionally falter. But the difference is what will we do then? Recognize the sin? Admit the sin to the injured parties? Apologize for the transgression? Ask forgiveness?
Here is what David asks of God;
“I know that you require sincerity and truth. Fill me with
wisdom, remove my sin, and make me clean—whiter than snow.
Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness. Even though you
have crushed me and broken me, I will be happy again.
(God crushed David by the death of his son born with Bathsheba)
David will know forgiveness when he has a “pure heart and a loyal spirit” and knows that he is not banished from God’s presence. He will again have the joy that comes from God’s salvation. Is this the feeling that we have when a wrong has been righted? A relationship lost is regained? A sadness of heart is now joyful? We are not banished from God, but instead we confront the fault and sin and feel whole again.
By Chuck Curry
O God, remind us that in the face of our human frailties, you offer forgiveness fully and freely. AMEN