by Kimberley Pfeiffer
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Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, ‘As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die’ (2 Samuel 12:5).
David – what a mess! Even he could see that it was bad. He got angry, and it sounds like he would have served the death penalty to anyone else for doing what he did. The prophet Nathan certainly had a clever way of stirring up repentance in his impenitent king.
The story of David’s sin, the lust in his heart that turned into coveting, adultery and eventually murder, reminds us of God’s commandments. David would have known them, yet he grew lazy, complacent, and they fell from his sight. David forgot that the commandments are a gift for our good, to keep us out of trouble. The first three are about our relationship with God, and the other seven help us live a God-pleasing life with those around us. We, like David, can’t say we don’t know what they are. Even David, who was blessed beyond measure, couldn’t deny them when he was confronted by Nathan.
Christians today hold up the Ten Commandments as a guide for living a godly life. Without them, things can fall apart pretty quickly. Martin Luther went to great lengths to teach the Ten Commandments in the Small Catechism. The commandments help us to realise our sin, where we fall short and our need to ask for God’s saving grace and forgiveness. Not because we lack worth, but for exactly the opposite reason: because we are so dearly loved by God, who is invested in us and plans to keep us in his love. As often as we practise repentance, we enjoy the benefits of being released from the burden of sin. It’s actually a healthy spiritual practice!
David, realising the severity of his sin, repented. He received the Lord’s forgiveness, although he still had to face the consequences of his actions. The Lord has forgiveness for you too. If you find you have a sin weighing you down, consider unloading it on the cross of Christ through confession and absolution next time you are at church. If you have a particular sin plaguing you, you may find it beneficial to ask your pastor to take you through the rite of private confession. It will be Christ’s joy to release you from that burden. After all, that’s what he came for.
Lord, have mercy on me, a poor helpless sinner. I confess to you all my sins. I am sorry for the ways I have displeased you and ask you, for the sake of your dear Son Jesus, to take them from me and give me new life. Create in me a clean heart and put a new and right spirit within me. Grant me the faith that longs for eternity in your presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.