July 14, 2021
Scripture: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:17 ESV
Observation: As we delve further into this penitential psalm of David, we come to the climax: we cannot earn forgiveness by our efforts, whether it be animal sacrifices in David’s day or acts of penance in our modern era. The only means by which we can receive God’s forgiveness in Christ is by our confession from a humbled disposition—a broken and contrite heart. The Apostle Paul echoes a similar sentiment when writing to the dysfunctional church in Corinth. He states: “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Takeaway: David expressed true regret over his sins and was confident that he would be forgiven. Knowing the character of his merciful and gracious Father, he did not belabor his confession but instead turned his attention to the needs of his community: “Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem…” (verse 18). Now that he has appropriated God’s forgiveness, David is ready to reengage with the community and serve as his peoples’ shepherd. Indeed, Israel’s lauded king has provided a model of repentance for all of us: sincerely confess our sins to God (inward focus) and then act on the Lord’s forgiveness and carrying on his kingdom work (outward focus).
Prayer: Father God, when we have sinned against you, move inward and convict and humble our hearts, that we might sincerely confess our transgressions and receive your forgiveness and turn our attention outward to the needs of others. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling