Be Still Know
READ: Psalm 51.1-2 NLT
‘Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.’
The background to this psalm is well known. King David had committed adultery and he had been found out. The penalty for this crime in the Jewish law was death. However, David repented of his sin and God showed him generosity in forgiving his wrongdoing. To suggest that David was relieved would be a piece of ridiculous understatement. This psalm is both a celebration of God’s forgiveness and of the new life which opened up for him as a result.
The evil one will always seek to persuade us that sin is not actually that serious. Everyone does it and we really shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it. And, in any event, the sins which other people commit are far worse than anything we would ever think of doing ourselves. Just look at some of the stories in today’s newspapers. In these, and a thousand other ways, we seek to excuse our sins. But the truth is that sin always destroys. It has the capacity to do nothing else. It never builds, never encourages, never helps. And there is no such thing as a little sin, or an excusable sin. The truth is that all sin damages us and blocks our relationship with God.
You might read about David’s sins in 2 Samuel chapter 11 and feel good about yourself because you have never sunk to the depths of committing adultery and then organising the murder of your lover’s husband. However, the truth is that we have all sinned and as the apostle Paul wrote, “we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” We all need to read this psalm and see it as being directly relevant to our own lives. We all need God’s gift of forgiveness. We all need come to God and ask him to create in us a pure heart and having done so we then need to spread the word about God’s forgiveness, because everyone needs it.
QUESTIONS: What has been your own experience of God’s forgiveness?
PRAYER: Lord God, I confess that I have sinned against you. Help me to receive your gift of forgiveness with joy and, in the power of your Spirit, to live a new life. Amen
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