Bible Society of South Africa
Neville Turley

Gems from the Psalms – Day 12

O God, I am so sorry

Bible text(s)

10Create a pure heart in me, O God,

and put a new and loyal spirit in me.

11Do not banish me from your presence;

do not take your Holy Spirit away from me.

12Give me again the joy that comes from your salvation,

and make me willing to obey you.

Psalms 51:10-12GNBOpen in Bible reader

David and Bathsheba

1The following spring, at the time of the year when kings usually go to war, David sent out Joab with his officers and the Israelite army; they defeated the Ammonites and besieged the city of Rabbah. But David himself stayed in Jerusalem.

2One day, late in the afternoon, David got up from his nap and went to the palace roof. As he walked about up there, he saw a woman having a bath. She was very beautiful. 3So he sent a messenger to find out who she was, and learnt that she was Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite. 4David sent messengers to fetch her; they brought her to him and he made love to her. (She had just finished her monthly ritual of purification.) Then she went back home. 5Afterwards she discovered that she was pregnant and sent a message to David to tell him.

6David then sent a message to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent him to David. 7When Uriah arrived, David asked him if Joab and the troops were well, and how the fighting was going. 8Then he said to Uriah, “Go home and rest a while.” Uriah left, and David sent a present to his home. 9But Uriah did not go home; instead he slept at the palace gate with the king's guards. 10When David heard that Uriah had not gone home, he asked him, “You have just returned after a long absence; why didn't you go home?”

11Uriah answered, “The men of Israel and Judah are away at the war, and the Covenant Box is with them; my commander Joab and his officers are camping out in the open. How could I go home, eat and drink, and sleep with my wife? By all that's sacred, I swear that I could never do such a thing!”

12So David said, “Then stay here the rest of the day, and tomorrow I'll send you back.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13David invited him to supper and made him drunk. But again that night Uriah did not go home; instead he slept on his blanket in the palace guardroom.

14The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by Uriah. 15He wrote: “Put Uriah in the front line, where the fighting is heaviest, then retreat and let him be killed.” 16So while Joab was besieging the city, he sent Uriah to a place where he knew the enemy was strong. 17The enemy troops came out of the city and fought Joab's forces; some of David's officers were killed, and so was Uriah.

18Then Joab sent a report to David telling him about the battle, 19and he instructed the messenger, “After you have told the king all about the battle, 20he may get angry and ask you, ‘Why did you go so near the city to fight them? Didn't you realize that they would shoot arrows from the walls? 21Don't you remember how Abimelech son of Gideon was killed? It was at Thebez, where a woman threw a millstone down from the wall and killed him. Why, then, did you go so near the wall?’ If the king asks you this, tell him, ‘Your officer Uriah was also killed.’ ”

22So the messenger went to David and told him what Joab had commanded him to say. 23He said, “Our enemies were stronger than we were and came out of the city to fight us in the open, but we drove them back to the city gate. 24Then they shot arrows at us from the wall, and some of Your Majesty's officers were killed; your officer Uriah was also killed.”

25David said to the messenger, “Encourage Joab and tell him not to be upset, since you never can tell who will die in battle. Tell him to launch a stronger attack on the city and capture it.”

26When Bathsheba heard that her husband had been killed, she mourned for him. 27When the time of mourning was over, David sent for her to come to the palace; she became his wife and bore him a son. But the LORD was not pleased with what David had done.

2 Samuel 11GNBOpen in Bible reader

Lust, adultery, a planned hit, the victim killed – the mastermind behind the plot, when taken to task, admits his guilt and is so sorry. A typical major media report to turn any morning blue.

This story, however, will never make banner headlines, even though the guilty party was a famous king. It happened too long ago. You can read the full report in your Bible, 2 Samuel 11–12.

The king concerned was none other than King David, a brilliant and complex man who, by the grace of God, became Israel’s greatest king.

It was Nathan, the prophet, who confronted David about his adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband, Uriah, the Hittite, and what the consequences would be, even though the Lord had forgiven David.

David felt so debased and defiled by the sin he had committed against God, that he penned Psalm 51, the finest gem in my personal treasure chest of Psalms.

God forgave him but David needed more. Therefore, he desperately pleads with God to purge him of all evil. He begs God – wash me, cleanse me, teach me, blot out all my iniquities and then, in our text for the day: Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:10-12)

David loved and walked with God, who had blessed him beyond imagining. Now, the evil David had done had greatly angered God. David was distraught, even though he had been forgiven. David needed to be convinced within himself that he was right with God.

David was not unique in this aspect. We all make mistakes and stumble, that is when we need first to turn to our heavenly Father and say, “O God, I am so sorry,” even before we redress our wrongdoing. Then, we can, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, move forward in faith with peace in our soul.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.16
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