Joy in Forgiveness

Key Verse: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”
—Psalm 32:1

Lesson Scripture: Psalm 32
Background Scripture:
Psalms 32; 51

IN THIS PRESENT EVIL world it is difficult to go through life’s experiences and be perfectly righteous, no matter how hard we try. As followers of Christ we have an endless battle against our three principal foes—the world, our flesh, and the Devil. How grateful we are to have the robe of Christ’s righteousness to cover our sinful flesh. David had an experience with his own fleshly shortcomings which caused him to utter the sentiments of our key verse, ‘Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.’

David saw Bath-Sheba, the wife of Uriah, bathing on the roof of her house, and desired to have her as a wife. Thus he arranged to have her come to his palace. He committed adultery with her, which was his first sin. When she was with child because of his adulterous affair, he brought Uriah back from the front lines of warfare. Israel was at war with Ammon, and Uriah was a faithful soldier fighting for Israel. Uriah did not understand this special leave of absence granted to him, so he did not go in unto his wife as long as Israel was at war.—II Sam. 11:2-11

David then committed his second sin by instructing the general of his army—Joab—to place Uriah in the forefront of the battle, where he was sure to be killed. His plan worked. Uriah was killed and David married the widow, Bath-Sheba. (II Sam. 11:14-27) He was blind to the enormity of his crimes, and God had to send Nathan, the prophet, to reveal it to him. Nathan did so by telling him how a rich man, who had everything, took a ewe lamb from a poor man. David was so incensed about the story that he demanded to know who was this man, and said he “shall surely die.” (II Sam. 12:5,6) When Nathan said to him, “Thou art the man.” (vs. 7), for the first time, David saw his sin.

David had written before that we should all seek the Lord’s face. (Ps. 27:8) He had the courage to look into the Lord’s face and when he saw the great displeasure there, he was smitten. David is described as “a man after mine [God’s] own heart.” (Acts 13:22) How then could he commit such a terrible crime? The weakness of his flesh overcame him, and he was subconsciously aware of his sin. Hence he wrote, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.” (Ps. 32:3,4, New International Version) He said, as recorded in Psalm 51, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.”—vss. 1-3

God was merciful to him. He spared his life (Ps. 51:1-3), but other punishments came to remind him of what he had done. Likewise, God is merciful to us when we sin. He also reminds us of our shortcomings, and makes us realize our dependency upon the atonement sacrifice of Jesus. We realize when we sin that God respects in us “a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”—Ps. 51:17

Dawn Bible Students Association
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