“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
King David is one of the notable Old Testament figures. He was the young boy who fought Goliath with stones and a slingshot. He was courageous and called a man after God’s own heart. Although a legend of our faith, he was no exception to sin.
In Psalm 51, we hear David confess his sins of taking advantage of Bathsheba after coming to realize his transgression from a parable told by the prophet Nathan. David sinned and admitted it, but he went even further. He runs to God, the same God who led the Israelites out of Egypt and provided Manna in the wilderness. King David confesses to God, because of his faith and trust in a God who is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.”
Thanks to Nathan, David realized just how badly he had messed up. Not only had he seen and coveted Bathsheba from a distance, but he used his power and position to get what he wanted from her. When he learned that actions have consequences, he tried to cover it up, eventually arranging the death of Bathsheba's husband in order to keep the secret. David's wrongdoings ran deep and wide, a stain that polluted him completely. How could he be washed clean from this?
When we confess our sins, God’s mercy comes and washes us with an ocean of forgiveness that removes our stains (sins), makes us clean, and restores us with joy and gladness. God’s mercy and forgiveness is more than making us new. It is more than just an act of repentance. It is about the joy of salvation, the new spirit we feel in God’s presence. The spirit that grounds and centers us in our relationship with God.
God of mercy, God of steadfast love, we bring our brokenness, our sinfulness, our fears and despair, and lay them at your feet. God of forgiveness, God of reconciliation, we celebrate the joy of salvation and the new spirit within us. Amen