NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passages: Psalms 32, Psalms 51
— From your observation, what is the typical first response of Christians when they sin? Is that the appropriate first response? If not, what should it be?
— How could David claim in Psalm 51 that he had sinned only against God in regard to his actions related to Bathsheba and Uriah?
— What’s the difference between having “a broken and a contrite heart” and being “sorry” for your sin?
Food for thought:
I’ve been there. You’ve been there as well. We’ve all done or said something we shouldn’t have. Perhaps we clearly understood the implication. Or perhaps our response was rash and reactionary, without the benefit of reasoned intentionality afforded by self-control. But in either case, we suddenly find ourselves having done what we know to be wrong — to be sin — and deeply pained at ourselves for our guilty action and the hurt or injustice we’ve inflicted on another.
Like us, King David has been there as well. He saw a beautiful woman bathing. Maybe he quickly averted his eyes, maybe not. At the very least, he allowed his mind to linger. You know the story. David inquired about the woman, pursued her despite the fact she was married, and eventually arranged the death of her husband in an effort to cover up his own sin. But God sent the prophet Nathan to make certain David recognized and acknowledged that sin.
In response, David poured out his heart to the Lord. Psalm 51 records David’s anguish of soul at confronting the sin he had committed.
Alexander MacLaren, a 19th century preacher and author of this MasterWork study, described Psalm 51 as “one long cry for pardon and restoration.” We can learn from David, who began this psalm of penitence by recalling God’s character of graciousness, faithful love and compassion.
Understanding the nature of the God he served gave David confidence to lay his soul bare before the Lord. He both admitted the guilt of his sin against God and sought God’s cleansing and restoration to a proper relationship with the Almighty.
In response to the sought forgiveness, David promised to renew his praise for God. Psalm 32 testifies to the joy David found in being forgiven and stands as Exhibit A in the fulfillment of that promise.
May you and I not only promptly acknowledge our sin, but with equal speed be convinced of the loving compassion of God so we will not delay in confessing our sin and seeking forgiveness. Let us quickly return to our God and resume praising Him.
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork.