In one of our house groups we have been working through a study on repentance, which, not surprisingly, had quite a focus upon David, particularly his 'have it away with someones wife and get the husband killed episode' or Bathsheba and Uriah the Hittite for the more biblically 'up market'. Seriously, apart from one of the most devastating punch lines in scripture, when Nathan declares to David 'You are that man' (if you're not sure about this read it in 2 Sam 12 ) there is Psalm 51, written by David after the event when the enormity of his actions had really struck home.
On that note, why is it that we don't feel 5 secs before an action the way we feel 5 secs after it? how much better would our lives be if we did? Uriah would certainly have appreciated it. Anyway, as we worked through this 5 week study we got to Pslam 51, where we could so easily have spent another 5 or 6 weeks...at least. In the course of this we looked at some of the key words used in the Psalm and the two that really hit home for me were 'wisdom' ( v6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.) and the phrase 'create in me a pure heart', with particular emphasis on 'create'.( Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. )
'Wisdom' has a number of aspects to its range of meanings but in this context the notion of 'making the right decisions at the right time....... consistently' is right at the top of the list. In the light of what David has done this is a plea for, and an acknowledgement that, God will enable us to do just that. I don't know about you, but I know my life would be, and have been, a lot more effective if I had operated within that gifting far more frequently than I have thus far managed... It's a challenge, but the promise it contains is also an encouragement....it needn't be like it has been...look at David!
Then there is the plea for a pure heart.....the plea is, I am sure, common enough, but the word used for 'create' implies an understanding that something is being requested that only God can supply. This is a really important truth for those of us who seek to follow Jesus. There are things that MUST happen in our lives that we cannot and can never achieve in our own strength, things where we rely on God producing something where there was nothing. Yes I have a heart, but a 'pure heart' is something else entirely...something needs to happen that I cannot bring about, try as I might! What are the areas in our lives in which we need to submit to the One who can create something where there was previously nothing? Again there is a challenge and the most hope-full of promises. As David experienced, you need not be defined by your past when the One who can create something from nothing gets to work on your life....what you will be can define who you are now, rather than being constrained and bound by what you were. This is why the gospel liberates.
I think we have all found our study on repentance a source of liberty and a cause of joy. Next we are moving onto 'Can conversion change your personality'....ooooer, scary....but a bit exciting as well.