Psalm 51:10-14

A class is reading Eugene Peterson’s Leap Over a Wall: Earthy Spirituality for Everyday Christians. This close look at David’s story in 1 and
2 Samuel and 1 Kings sparks lively discussions that engage everyone. Except one usually eager participant. She later explains that David’s story troubles her. She struggles to respect, understand, or learn from someone who could take Bathsheba and destroy Uriah.

Our culture is having a similar conversation these days about whether we should keep appreciating the work of artists after discovering the despicable things they have done. Can we still value and benefit from those works we used to love when we now understand how flawed their actors or creators are? This emotional debate involves difficult questions.

Scripture refuses to hide the flaws of its characters. In fact, their sins become central to their stories. When David fails to see his grievous wrongdoing, God sends Nathan to make it clear. The king’s sin can never be separated from his story, but honestly confronting it enlarges the story’s purpose. In his cry for deliverance through Psalm 51, the writer envisions a different path than he knew before. If God will re-create his heart and spirit, David promises that I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you (v. 13). David believes that the Divine Artist can still work through a failed life, particularly his own, and offer truth to those who need recreating.


When have you asked God to create a clean heart and put a new and right spirit within you?


God, forgive us for the ways we grieve you. May we find new life and new purpose through your mercy. Amen.

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