King David (1040 – 970 BC) lived a life of great highs and lows. Even God testified concerning him as “a man after my own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). David was a bold and victorious warrior, a righteous king, a musician and poet, credited with composing many of the psalms contained in the scriptural Psalms. He was also a man with faults who experienced great anguish and tragedy in life, particularly around his family.
A Prophet Knows
The prophet Nathan noted David’s life well lived as he followed “the commandments of the Lord all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” (1 Kings 15:5) Yes, that episode involving sending the loyal Uriah, husband of his mistress, to certain death in the front lines of battle. Nathan calls out David as only a true prophet can (see 2 Samuel 12). For the rest of his life, the fallout of this sin was profound. Yet even in sin and tragedy, with deep repentance there emerges a line of descendants leading to Christ himself.
A Cry for Forgiveness
Psalm 51 is the record of David’s repentance for his sin in the matter of Uriah, which was indeed the greatest blemish upon his character. While one may not necessarily have the sin of adultery and murder on their hands, this heart-wrenching begging of a prayer to our God, is an apt model for each of us seeking forgiveness for any degree of woeful transgression against God or man.
We would all do well to pray or even sing this psalm of great regret and meditate on the weight of its request for cleansing, renewal and restoration of heart, spirit, mind and will. Like David, we are all blessed to have access to a redeeming and forgiving Lord God who knows our sins and is faithful and just to forgive our contrite and broken hearts.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:10-12)