Have you ever noticed? God doesn’t just have one way to talk about forgiveness. No, God has a complete arsenal of ways to talk about forgiveness.
The reason for this is that we need to hear about forgiveness over and over again. We need to constantly rediscover grace from a variety of angles, so that we begin to absorb what God has actually done for us.
In Psalm 51, David, a man after God’s own heart, recalls a number of these various perspectives and angles on forgiveness.
Maybe that’s because he sorely needed God’s forgiveness.
David had sinned horribly, and in multiple ways. Then to top it all off, he covered his sins up and tried to bury them as deep as he could. God sent Nathan the prophet to confront David, and finally — finally! — David relented and repented.
With a repentant heart, David beseeches God for forgiveness. But notice, he never once mentions the word “forgiveness.”
He asks God to cleanse and wash him from his sins. He wants God to make him as pure as the driven snow.
He desires to hear God’s voice filled with joy and gladness.
He seeks healing for his bones, bones that feel crushed by God’s justice and anger.
He pleads that God will hide his face from his sins. He asks God to blot out his iniquity like erasing a spill in the carpet.
What colorful pictures, and they all say the same thing: “God, please forgive me!”
“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity” (Psalm 51:7-9, NIV).
Our Bible reading for Saturday, April 25, is Joshua 8:1 – 9:15, Luke 22:63 – 23:25 and Psalm 51:1-9.
Lord, thank you for forgiveness. Thank you that I can picture your forgiveness in so many different, beautiful ways. Please cleanse me and heal me from my transgressions against you.
Header image based on "Norwegian Snow Desert" by Markus Trienke, CC By-SA 2.0