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The Power of Forgiveness and Restoration

 David was a man after God’s own heart. Yet, his life reflects a man of deep passions that led him to sin.

One well-document incident is his discretion with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11 and 12). While his army is our fighting David stays home and this leads to him committing adultery and setting in motion a plan to have the woman’s husband coldly murdered. Both crimes are capital offenses (Deuteronomy 22:23–24; Numbers 35:19), yet David is forgiven and restored to fellowship with God. God extended mercy to the sinner who, when confronted with His Word (by the prophet Nathan in this case), expressed his faith in God by truly confessing and renouncing his sin.

The incident inspired David to write Psalm 51. It’s a beautiful psalm about one man’s sin, forgiveness and restoration. David wrote this Psalm after Nathan had paid his fateful visit. When we read the first few verses we realize, as Pastor Chuck Swindoll points out, that “David wasn’t relaxing and taking life easy, sipping lemonade on his patio, during the aftermath of his adultery . . .He was a miserable husband, an irritable father, a poor leader, and a songless composer. He lived a lie but could not escape the truth.”[1]

David’s response is genuine repentance. What does that look like?

He makes an open admission. He says, “I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is always before me (v.3).

He seeks true repentance. David, on the basis of the Truth has a deep desire to turn around and go in the opposite direction.  He says, “Create in me a clean heart.”

His spirit is broken to humility before God. He writes, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise. (v. 17)” He knows the kind of spirit God wants us to have. Stephen Arterburn wrote, “God is looking for people with humble hearts not perfect records.”[2]

He claims God’s forgiveness and restoration. He writes in verse 12, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”

David recognizes his sin, seeks God’s forgiveness, makes a commitment to turn things around and God lavishly restores him.

And, after restoration what’s David’s response? Worship!

He writes, “Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.”

No matter what we do (our own sin) or no matter who comes to us, they need to be met with hope, compassion and love because nobody is beyond the grace of Christ. People need the same grace David received and they need the same grace we received when we sought forgiveness and restoration.

God is able, no matter the brokenness, no matter the sin, to give healing when we, or the people we meet, are willing, like David, to give Him their whole heart. There is always hope for anyone, not matter what they’ve done, if we are willing to confront our sins and seed God’s forgiveness.

No matter how dark it might seem, change is possible. He washes people clean when they come boldly to Him. He sanctifies, and He justifies.

He can, He will and He’s able.


[1] Charles R. Swindoll, David: The Man of Passion and Destiny, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1997), 199

[2] Stephen Arterburn, Executive Editor, Every Man’s Bible, (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2004), 650

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