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David, Bathsheba & Psalm 51: a faith based story story from the Story Powerline
4/9/2020 6:00:00 AM by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

King David was Israel’s greatest ruler. The Bible says he was a man after God’s own heart. Known as the sweet singer of Israel, David wrote many of the psalms. But David was not perfect.

Adultery and murder

One evening as he relaxed on the flat roof of the palace, he happened to see a beautiful woman bathing on a nearby rooftop. Secretly, he sent for her to come spend the night with him. A couple of months later she sent word that she was pregnant. Quietly David arranged for her soldier-husband to be killed in battle, and he married the young widow.

Confrontation

God was displeased with David’s secret deeds and sent the prophet Nathan to confront him about his sins of adultery and murder. King David sincerely repented of his wrongdoing. Out of this shameful experience David wrote words of confession and comfort that became included in the Bible and have helped guilt-ridden people throughout the ages to make things right with God:

I admit I did wrong and deserve punishment

"O loving and kind God, have mercy. Have pity upon me and take away the awful stain of my transgressions. Oh, wash me, cleanse me from this guilt. Let me be pure again. For I admit my shameful deed-- it haunts me day and night. It is against you and you alone I sinned and did this terrible thing. You saw it all, and your sentence against me is just.

Help me to be truthful and wise.

“But I was born a sinner, yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. You deserve honesty from the heart; yes, utter sincerity and truthfulness. Oh, give me this wisdom. Sprinkle me with the cleansing blood and I shall be clean again. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. And after you have punished me, give me back my joy again.

Please forgive me and give me a clean heart

“Don't keep looking at my sins-- erase them from your sight. Create in me a new, clean heart, O God, filled with clean thoughts and right desires. Don't toss me aside, banished forever from your presence. Don't take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.

Then I will tell others and praise You

“Then I will teach your ways to other sinners, and they-- guilty like me-- will repent and return to you. Don't sentence me to death. O my God, you alone can rescue me. Then I will sing of your forgiveness, for my lips will be unsealed-- oh, how I will praise you" (Psalm 51:1-14 TLB).

God’s forgiveness

David’ attitude of complete repentance shows what Jesus meant when he said “Blessed are the poor spirit.” Because David confessed his evil deeds and truly repented of them, he experienced the wonder of God’s amazing forgiveness. His overwhelming guilt and regret were replaced by joy. God restored David to usefulness in God’s service. Regardless of your past deeds, you, too, can experience the joy of God’s forgiveness.

Today’s prayer

Read aloud the words of Psalm 51, printed above, as your prayer to God.

© 1998 Paula Kortkamp Combs

You can find other stories by Paula in My Roots Go Back to Loving and other stories from Year of the Family in the Bookstore


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