David and Repentance: Psalm 51

I am getting ready to teach a Sunday school class this coming Sunday. Last week, we learned about David’s humbleness vs. Goliath’s pride. This week, we are going to learn that David, although a man after God’s own heart, also had a sin nature like the rest of us. David needed repentance just like all of us. Psalm 51 was written after David was confronted by Nathaniel. David could have reacted to the confrontation our of pride. He was the king. No one but God was above him. He could have acted like Goliath. He did not. To set the back story for this lesson, we have to understand what brought David to this point. David walked with God. David was a man of God. David had written his own copy of the first 5 books of the Bible. He read from that hand written copy every day, according to Deuteronomy 17:

18 “Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19 “It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes,

David feared the Lord yet, he was not totally obedient in all areas of his life. Also in Deuteronomy 17, we find the following:

17 “He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.

David had multiple wives. When we leave a small crack in the door for disobedience, our sin nature kicks the door down and leads us into all kinds of trouble. David took another man’s wife. Then David had that man killed in battle so he could keep the other man’s wife. God saw all of this and sent Nathaniel to confront David. As I wrote earlier, Psalm 51 is David’s response to that confrontation.

Before we get into the heart of this message, I would like to define what repentance is. As I explain to our kids; repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change of heart, that leads to a change of actions (direction). If you like technical definitions of words or ideas:

The Greek word that is transliterated into English as “repentance” is “Metanoia“. It is composed of 2 other Greek words, “meta” which means “after” and “noia” which means “to understand profoundly”. When the 2 words come together to form “Metanoia” we get “after understanding profoundly”. The word “Metanoia” in itself means a change of mind that leads to a change of action. So, the word “repentance” literally means “after you understand the Gospel in a profound way, you have a change of mind that leads to a lifestyle change”.

I. Admission of sin

The first thing that we see about David is that he does not try to blame others for his actions. He does not try and justify himself for what he did. The is so contrary to our modern worldview. We are trained to believe that nothing is our fault. We are who we are and we do what we do, not by choice, but, by circumstances. My socioeconomic background caused me to be who I am and therefore I do what I do. I cannot be held responsible. My parents did this, or, they did not do that, therefore, I am who I am and I do what I do. This is not a new tactic. Since David was familiar with the first 5 books of the Bible, he knew the way that Adam and Eve reacted when confronted over their sin. Adam tried to blame God and Eve. Eve tried to blame the serpent. This is where we get our excuse today, “the devil made me do it”. David did not respond that way. He acknowledged his sin. He owned his sin. He knew that he had sinned against God first and foremost, and then, against the people who are created in God’s image.

Have you ever been confronted because of your sin? How did you respond? Did your pride cause you to get angry and attack the messenger? Did you try to justify yourself? Did you play the blame game? Or, did you respond as David did and admit your sin?

II. Asking for mercy

The definition of mercy is “not getting what you actually deserve”. Because of his sin, his attitude and actions, David deserved to die. He took another man’s wife, which was punishable by death. He had that man killed which makes David a murderer. Murders were punished by death. David deserved to die, but, he appealed to God’s character and asked for mercy. He did not deserve mercy. He did not show mercy, but, God chose to show mercy to David. This is what grace is, receiving what you do not deserve. None of us deserves mercy from God. He shows it anyway. None of us deserves grace from God. He gives us grace anyway. David is very grateful for the gifts that he received from God. He did not demand these things from God, as if God owed him anything. He simply asked. God responded and David was grateful. I cannot help but think that David probably thought about the goodness that Abraham showed to Lot and the lack of gratitude that Lot showed back to Abraham. Lot did not deserve what Abraham did for him. Lot benefited greatly from what Abraham did. Lot did not show his gratitude to Abraham . David benefited greatly from what God did in showing him mercy and grace. David should have died but God spared him. David chose to be grateful to God and show his gratitude.

Are you grateful to God for the fact that He shows mercy to you and gives grace to you? Do you feel like God owes you something? How do you show your gratitude to God for His mercy and grace?

III. Announcing God’s goodness

The first thing that David does is let everyone know that God is able to forgive our sins. Many people carry their sins around with them all of their lives, not knowing that they can be forgiven and cleansed from the stains that sin leaves in our lives and on our minds. The next thing that David announces is that God can help us be faithful to Him and walk in obedience. We would love to be able to obey God on our own but we cannot do it. We need help. God will help us if we will learn to depend on Him. David also announces that God is able to give us joy in the midst of the worst situations in life. Finally, David announces that when sinners (all of us) hear the Word of God and the attributes of God as described in His Word, we can be saved (rescued) and transformed from the inside out. This is how David shows his gratitude to God, by telling the people around him what they can receive if they will repent and turn to God. David becomes a herald for the Lord. Are you letting the people around you know what God has to offer to them?

Have you repented? Have you experienced God’s mercy and grace in your own life? Are you showing your gratitude by telling others? May the Lord bless us as we share Him with the people around us!

4 comments on “David and Repentance: Psalm 51

  1. Pingback: Honesty and Integrity: Signs of Genuine Faith | Erik and Elena Brewer's Weblog

  2. Pingback: Jesus explained by Isaiah | Erik and Elena Brewer's Weblog

  3. Pingback: Daniel’s Faithfulness | Erik and Elena Brewer's Weblog

  4. Pingback: Nehemiah: Servant, Leader, Restorer of society | Erik and Elena Brewer's Weblog

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