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Bible Time Period: Royal Kingdom
You established a kingdom on your servant David and promised him an eternal throne: Establish your kingdom in our midst.
You will see a number of sides of David in these chapters. Note his faithfulness to the house of Saul; his sin with Bathsheba; his profound penitence. Also notice the Lord’s love for David and Bathsheba’s son Solomon from the very start (12:25).
Psalm 51 records David prayer for forgiveness after his sin with Bathsheba. Read and meditate on it if you have time. How does it speak to you?
Join the discussion below!
King David wants to show kindness to the house of Saul for the sake of his best friend Jonathan, and he found it through Ziba, the former official of the house of Saul, a handicapped son of Jonathan who has been hiding and living in poverty in the house of Machir in Lodebar. He appeared to the King and said ” What am I, your servant, that you should pay attention to a dead dog like me? So King David gave him all the land owned by Saul to Meribbaal also known as Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan, son of Saul and made Ziba the servant to till the land for him for food for his family. Ziba has 15 sons and 20 servants.
But what is really so amazing to me is the extra-ordinary graciousness of King David, where above all the granting of land and servant to make the land productive is his pleasure for Mephibosheth to eat with the king’s table like his own son and of course his privilege to have fellowship with the King. Surely the love of King David is the foretaste of the exceedingly love of God for us. We are Mephibosheth the beloved people of God !!!
David was surely kind and merciful to the remnant of Saul’s family as Jose has so aptly written about. Yet we also see that David, himself sinned with Bathsheba, then had Uriah killed in battle…Uriah who was faithful to him and to God…how like us that is. on one hand we fulfill the prescriptions of faith, oh the other we sin against them. David’s psalm of repentance is our psalm as well. For we are no different than David. We are faithful in some ways, unfaithful in other ones. God, on the other hand wants us to be faithful in all ways-not just some ways. Lord, please forgive me a sinner…for I have sinned against you and against my fellow man in my thoughts, words, and deeds…I am sorry, and wish to be reconciled with You, O my God….Amen. Thank God for the Sacrament of Reconciliation for healing.
It really does make a difference when we realize that we must confess to God first and foremost for our sins, I think. Then we can muster the humility to admit how our actions hurt each other, particularly the faith community we profess to belong to. “I confess to almighty God AND to you, my brothers and sisters….”
David surely had a heavy heart. He knew he sinned against God and continued to sin when attempting to lure Uriah back home to be with his wife. When David lamented with Psalm 51, he was truly sorry for the progression of the drama that encompassed David’s house. He asked the Lord to forgive his iniquities and cleanse him from his sin.
What stands out about the Psalm is that David shows true penitence to God and God alone. “”The
sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despair.” Psalm 51:17
David was such a beautiful and genuine person, inside especially. He had the fear of God and the true love of God in his soul. May I be able to let go of my “ego” just to be remorseful as David was when I confess to the Lord my sins and transgressions for evermore.
“The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” To me this clearly speaks of our beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation as Beverly spoke about earlier.
We had a Cursillo event today, an “Encounter With Christ” featuring Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Renewal. Sister Agnes Mary of the Holy Eucharist gave her witness talk and she said something very beautiful about confession which I’d never considered before. She said, “when you go to confession, you receive the grace to grow in virtue”.
I don’t remember the last time I saw such a long line for confession as today!
God forgave David’s sin, but He would not shield him from every consequence of
the sin. David had to face the consequences of his sin, beginning with the death of the child born by Bathsheba. This shows that God didn’t only want to heal David of the guilt of his sin; He also wanted to heal David of the presence of this sin. We never read of David committing adultery again because God used these chastisements to drive such impurities far from David.
Immediately after Nathan the prophet informed David about his sin against God he repented. Through Psalm 51 he asks God to have mercy on him for his sin. He asks him to blot his sins out, THOROUGHLY wash his guilt out. He clearly states that his sin AGAINST GOD, and asks for the hyssop to be purified. David goes through an entire ritual of repentance for his sin.
I need to do a much deeper act of forgiveness for my sins. Psalm 51 is a prayer that deeply asks for an entire soul, mind and bod cleansing.It is an open reminder that sin is working against God and this is totally opposite of the life I want to proceed with.
Once David asked for forgiveness he moved on and did not dwell on the sin already forgiven. He and Bathsheba moved on together and conceived Solomon through the love of God.
true heartfelt repentence.he changed his mind and thus changed his action to move away from sin and toward his God. this was done purely to better his relationship with his creator.i hope to truly repent as David did.
Power corrupts; idleness can lead to sinfulness. David, as God pointed out in His rebuke through Nathan, had it all. But he was a warrior and I picture him bored and pensive walking on his roof awaiting news of the battle. Temptation got the better of him, as it does for many of us when our guards are down, not diligent in our prayer life.
Psalm 51 is my all time favorite – “A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.” – 51:12 This is my mantra as it speaks to me about how I am going to fail time and again, and there will be lasting repercussions for some of my sins. But if I turn to God in genuine remorse as David did, willing to bear the responsibility for my actions, in full trust of God’s justice and mercy, then there is hope. God gives us the Spirit within, God can cleanse my heart. I cannot do it alone. Realization of this, I suspect, is part of why David was convicted of his own sinfulness and turned to God in complete humility.
Just another thought, is that maybe David ought to have been in the field with his men instead of staying home (where he spied Bathsheba from the rooftop), as 11:1 reads “At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign, …”.
Exactly – he was a very successful warrior and perhaps was not happy staying behind; hence the pacing around on the roof!
Maybe, not so, to me, seem to be part of God’s plan of human salvation, since Bathsheba, sprout Solomon, the lineage of the Missaiah.
David figures preeminently into salvation history, according to the promise God made to Abraham. But everything I know about God makes me believe that He would not include adultery and murder into His great plan for salvation. Perhaps Uriah would have been killed in battle anyway and David could have married his widow in a more honorable way.
I’m thinking of the importance of Nathan’s action in this scene. As a prophet of God, he is able to know what King David did. So he tells the parable, and initially David expresses outrage at the rich man’s deed. Then the moment of truth from Nathan: why, David, you ARE that man! Is it possible that even King David would have rationalized and justified his actions had they not been brought into the light? Saul did it so much he couldn’t find his way back to truth. My first thought is that too bad I don’t have a prophet at my disposal. Then I think I/ we have the Great Prophet whenever we care to bend our knee and listen. Thank you Lord Jesus.
Good thread! May our consciences be as bold as the prophet Nathan when there is nobody else to lovingly point out our transgressions!
Good thing Ann, you brought out the question whether David can rationalize and justify his action. Just look around today it has been practice by many because it started from the beginning when Adam said, the woman made me do it. We are simply to believe God of what He says, yet simple belief and obedience is the hardest thing to do. To me who had been in many ecumenical fellowship with other faith as a Catholic apologist you cannot find non-catholic believers to believe all Christ teaching, simply go through each verses in the gospel and somewhere they will stumble on that particular verse or you will showed a new version of the Bible, yet the call themselves Christians. BTW, whenever we attend friend’s Bible study group, we can always affirm, we/I am Catholic but we never attempt to distort their plan or agenda, but be meek or create arguments, briefly, yes, if you were ask to explain.
Let’s go back to the topic. David’s sin is how sins works in us today, we go on and on sinning because of pride and wants to control others, the reason God sent Nathan. Even those days forgiveness is face to face with God or through authority like Nathan or Moses, but ultimately God forgave. So as in the New Covenant with Jesus, Christ gave the apostles was twofold: to forgive sins or to hold them bound, which means to retain them unforgiven. Several things follow from this. First, the apostles could not know what sins to forgive and what not to forgive unless they were first told the sins by the sinner. Occasions for forgiveness, like at mass, at baptism or public forgiveness, prayers in solitary, etc., but eventually we need to do it Sacramentally as commanded by Jesus, (John 20:21-23)
I had heard Psalm 51 sung by Michael Talbot but as far as I can recall this is the first time I read it. Like everyone else who commented, it struck home with me. It contains all the feelings and words I wish I could utter when I realise I have done something wrong or adopted a bad attitude and have to live with the sorrow and regret until I am able to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
It is a beautiful psalm to memorise as a prayer, as you said, when we have sinned in thought, word and deed it makes us remorseful if we haven’t had time to go to confession. As I’m walking up to receive Jesus, I always ask him to prepare me by praying the verse ..a pure heart create for me…
Pure, unrestrained, down on knees, asking for forgiveness. As mentioned somewhere in this thread, those words are the words I wish I could utter whenever I repent for my sins. How pure, how raw, and how encompassing. A direct channel from sinner to God. Amazing. I love this part the best: “My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart.” It is my faults I focus on, not others. It is me that I focus on to correct, not others to blame. May all of us understand that no matter how Good our lives we lead, we will all sin and the praise and the glory of God will always and only come when we put all of ourselves in front of him and continually ask for his pardon.
David is called to repentance and he bares out his heart and soul. For me it is the verse that speaks to me (It is also my favourite). “A pure heart create for me oh God, Put a steadfast spirit within me, Do not cast me away from your presence; Nor deprive me of your Holy Spirit” psalm 51. He wants a new creation, a new heart – something internal. David shows such humility once he discovered that he was that rich man Nathan talked about, he was guilty, ashamed and completely gutted that he had greatly offended God. David was ‘a man after God’s own heart’ 1Sam 13:14. He wanted to have that great relation that he once had with God. With his heartfelt confession, he begs forgiveness, our Lord is merciful and David can once again get in the presence of God.
This is what happens when we become powerful. Sin breeds Sin. David plotted and planned to carry this sin. I think there was a bit of arrogance in him as well. (I am King – I can do what I like). Thank God for Prophet Nathan who made him see the bigger picture, pointing out his transgressions. Sometimes we get comfortable in our own surroundings and need a nudge to tell us that we are stepping off the mark that’s when we need to recalibrate our relation with God and try to avoid the occasion of Sin and be open to God’s grace. As I’ve said before, we in the Catholic Church are truly blessed with treasures like the Divine Office where psalm 51 is said every Friday mornings.
Reflecting on the Psalm is so appropriate as we approch Lent. I compare David to Saul in this manner. When Saul sinned he made excuses. David admits his sin and repents. He recognizes that he is sinful. And that no sacrifice can take away the sin only God can cleanse him.
Today’s question is right up my alley… asking me to meditate on the Psalms!
Psalm 51 speaks to the agony that David must have felt knowing that he had sinned and now there was this separation between him and God. He who had always known God’s favor must have felt bereft at the silence that we feel when there is a spiritual distance between us and the Father.
As always, I am touched by the beauty of the Psalms. They speak to me. They speak FOR me. “You desire truth… therefore teach me wisdom… Create in me a clean heart, O God.” (Psalm 51:6,10)
Remorse… repentance… the need for mercy… the desire for oneness with God…
Then David praises God and promises to teach others, so that all may experience the joy of His salvation.
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation… Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you… O God of my salvation, my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.” (Psalm 51:12-14) Amen!
I too noticed that David promised to teach others. I had always felt unworthy to teach others because I was a sinner. I also have a lot of trouble believing that my sins are forgiven
Well, there are different ways of teaching that goes beyond the scholarly knowledge. We all have something to offer; we have our life experiences that we can share with one another. God made us uniquely different for a reason.
Barbara, your sins are forgiven… that’s what Jesus tells us. That’s what the priest tells us in confession. As long as we repent with a sincere heart… even if we repeat the sin due to our own shortcomings.
I love what St Paul says of “The Inner Conflict”:
“I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate… Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me… Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.” (Romans 7:15, 20, 24-25)
BTW, do you notice that Paul “gives thanks in all circumstances”?
I have always found Paul very confusing and for the most part very depressing. It is very hard to live up to Paul’s standards.
I understand. Paul uses long sentences all the time. For me, there are parts of the OT that I find confusing. I think the key is to break it into smaller pieces. Or find commentaries or other translations which (though not a precise word for word translation) can give you the gist. Or focus on what means the most to you, like perhaps the Gospels. For me, the above passage is simply saying, “I want to be a good person but I can’t help it.. I still mess up”. Even in this case, Paul is saying he can’t live up to his own standards.
Did you notice today’s readings?
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.’”( Lev 19:1-2)
And Jesus said, “Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
So it’s not Paul’s standards, but the Lord’s…
However, “the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. (Psalm 103:8, 10)
Praise God, there’s hope for us!
I did listen very carefully to todays readings but when it came to all those rhetorical questions my eyes crossed. One almost has to print out Paul’s writing and diagram each sentence.
Yes, his writings DO have to be dissected. I find this true of parts of the OT, as well.
Would you like to learn more about the writings of St Paul? Please don’t feel like you have to answer my question. We all have different interests at different stages of our lives. But if you do want to learn more, about Paul or any part of Scripture, you should get yourself a good Catholic study bible, and a Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) which is often referenced in the study bible.
SARAH, perhaps you and the ASCENSION PRESS can lead us on a study dissecting some of the writings of St Paul through this forum!
Barbara, you have a lifetime to keep learning. It won’t happen overnight, and you will never learn it all. You don’t even have to do a lot in a day… just take a couple paragraphs and go from there.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
May the Holy Spirit guide you and lead you towards wisdom. Blessings, Mar
Marianne. On April 1 of last year the Dr. stamped an expiration date on me (October 2014) On that day I decided that I would make what I called my ” “Bible Bucket List” I would read 1 Chapter of the Bible a day. I then prayed to the Holy Spirit for guidance as to the order of the Books, That I should read. I had actually scheduled Genesis for January 1 when I found out about this study. How is that for a response by the Holy Spirit. Now I am reading four chapters a day and gaining some very valuable insights. I am also taking two Ascension Press studies at my parish. In fact I just got home from Bible Timeline study . I believe that the Holy Spirit will lead me to Paul when I am ready for Paul. By the way, I have missed expiration dates before and I may just pass this one.
Wonderful news, Barbara.
I agree, the Holy Spirit leads us in our quest for knowledge and the path is different for different people. I know what you mean about being ready! For me, delving back into the OT was a major step.
I’m glad to have you as a part of our forum and pray for your continued defiance of the doctors’ imposed limits. Thanks be to God! He has you here for a reason. You are inspiration and hope to others.
Life will never be perfect as God is perfect since the ‘fall’ from Adam & Eve. King David was such a good person, respected to God & his fellow men. How he failed to the beauty of Bathsheba in killing her husband. It’s not lust but the evil in the heart. It’s our sinful nature that we have to combat, will the help of Jesus, our Lord constant in our hearts to help us to over come this evil. Lord Jesus, please be at my side and never leave me, a wicked and weak in heart person. Amen.
The Psalm teaches me to repent with a sorrowful heart and ask God for forgiveness for my many sins. O Lord please create a pure and steadfast heart in me. Amen
It reminds me of our Act of Contrition. The psalmist, in anguish because of his sin, confesses and prays for mercy. He suffers from a broken fellowship with God rather than a physical disorder. He petitions God for mercy and cleansing, then acknowledges his sin. He asks God to purify and restore him, describing how he will respond to God’s forgiveness. In confessing his sin, the psalmist recognizes that he sinned against God Himself. He acknowledges God’s right to judge him. While his sin may have involved and harmed others, the psalmist is primarily concerned with his offense of God. This fits David’s response when Nathan confronts him about his sin with Bathsheba. After stating that God prefers a contrite heart over sacrifice, he concludes by petitioning God to restore the nation.
Inspiring thoughts Anthony. If David felt as I do following the act of reconciliation, you are right Psalm 51, is a reminder of the Act of Contrition. Thank you.
While Anthony made a fine comparison of Psalm 51 to the Act of Contrition, I thought of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, since I attended my Granddaughter’s Confirmation last night. I saw the Gifts in David’s lament and prayer: Wisdom: teach me wisdom; Understanding: I have done such evil in your sight; Counsel: I will teach the wicked your ways; Fortitude: renew in me a steadfast spirit; Knowledge: For I know my offense, my sin is always before me; Piety: My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; and Fear of The Lord: Rescue me from death God…that my tongue may praise your healing power.
What a beautiful Psalm from a truly repentful heart! It echoes the intent of my prayers before I pour my heart out to Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I feel so unworthy to even be in His presence, yet with his ever-merciful, loving nature He cleanses me of all my sins and wipes my slate clean. Thank You, Lord, for giving us Your sacraments. Thank You for the ability to cleanse ourselves and start anew with the Sacrament of Reconciliation! Praise Your holy, glorious and wonderful name, Oh Lord!
I was going to post this (and maybe it did) as a reply to Marianne in reference to her comment about a long confession line, but didn’t know if all of you could read it. Anyway, a great (and easy!) book to read is, “7 Secrets of Confession,” by Vinny Flynn. One of the organizations in our parish purchased hundreds of these books and gave them to parishioners. It has given me and others MANY insights into the Sacrament of Reconciliation on how we view and approach this healing sacrament. I was afraid I wouldn’t live to see it, but am so happy to say that long confession lines at our church are now a common sight…PRAISE AND GLORY TO GOD!
Sounds like a great resource, Janet. Thanks for the info!
Yes, great book!
A few things struck me while I was reading Psalm 51, (1) David’s immediately admitting he gravely sinned, (2) asking for God’s mercy and forgiveness, and (3) David’s recognition that he himself must show his sorrowful and guilt ridden heart to the Lord personally and not use a sacrifice of an oxen or such as a vehicle for forgiveness. David understood that symbolism would not find him in the mercy of the Lord but only his truly repentant heart.
The contributions of Anthony with his parallelism to the Act of Contrition and Elaine’s comparison to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit were incredible and gave such new light and understanding to Psalm 51. These two contributions in this discussion board were very meaningful and powerful to me.
Yes it is like others have said, we are often blind to our sins. Nathan took the blinders off of David’s eyes. David had a heart for the Lord and repented. Our society, as sin gains a stronghold tends to put blinders on people’s eyes as they accept these sins. Relativism is the sin of our day. We need Nathan’s to be shouting from the roof tops.
A little off topic but I love this part of p51 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
March for life!
As Anthony P. explained so well, Psalm 51, is a reminder of the Act of Contrition. David’s words are so sincere and heart felt, addressed directly to God, how he regrets and is so sorry for his sin. Before David, in our Bible readings, I never experienced anyone one so sincerely repentant for his sins, and I can see how God heard him and didn’t destroy his spirit, like Saul’s was. Saul never laid out his heart begging for forgiveness from the Lord, which is so opposite of how David expressed his sorrow for doing wrong. When I say to the Act of Contrition to a Priest, I can relate with David, that having a sincere heart is a cleansing feeling of relief.
Oh God, I so appreciate the opportunity for You to cleanse my heart and soul this morning. Asking for you to forgive me my sins in every such way so that I follow you in a joyful fulfilling life is uplifting and give me the hope to stay on your path not mine. The cleansing of my heart and soul will bring back my joy and salvation and a willing spirit sustain in me. These are the days I so seek following you and doing so joyfully. Amen