Friday: March 23                                                      

Psalm 51:1-12

Have mercy on me, O God,

according to your steadfast love;

according to your abundant mercy

blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,

and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,

and my sin is ever before me.

Against you, you alone, have I sinned,

and done what is evil in your sight,

so that you are justified in your sentence

and blameless when you pass judgment.

Indeed, I was born guilty,

a sinner when my mother conceived me.

You desire truth in the inward being;

therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;

let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins,

and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and put a new and right spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from your presence,

and do not take your holy spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and sustain in me a willing spirit.

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            To use Jonathan Edwards’ sermon title, David felt like a “sinner in the hands of an angry God.”  Lust of the eye had led to adultery with Bathsheeba, as well as the murder of her husband to cover the first transgression.  God’s prophet Nathan comes and through the Parable of the Ewe Lamb brings the king to the point of self-condemnation.  Confession (David’s purpose in our psalm) concerns the condition of self, not just responsibility for a particular transgression.  “Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the man who has done it.” (C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, “On Forgiveness,” HarperOne, 2001, p. 181)  This is the forgiveness God brings us through Jesus.

Help me, O God, to face my sinful self, eye to eye,

and then to turn myself entirely toward your grace and mercy.

Rev. Donald Snyder

First Christian Church, Beckley

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