Advent Reflections 2023: Day 6

6 December Psalm 51:1-12

I wonder when you last changed your mind. Did you decide in the morning to put on different clothes to those you put out the night before? Or was it something more serious? Did you decide not to say or do something because you realised it would hurt someone else?

Throughout the books of Kings in the Bible, rulers were judged to have done ‘what was right in the sight of the Lord’ or ‘what was evil in the sight of the Lord’. King David was held up as the benchmark for doing what was right.

Yet, in the 2nd book of Samuel we learn that David desired Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, and so contrived to have Uriah killed. Nathan, the prophet, told David the tale of a greedy man who took and killed the pet lamb of a poor neighbour instead of using one from his flock to be part of a feast prepared for a guest. David was enraged and said the man should make restoration and be put to death. Nathan points out that David is the man. He has had Uriah killed and taken his wife.

Only then did David ‘change his mind’. He accepts what he did was wrong and realises his sin. Psalm 51 is David’s cry of repentance and plea for forgiveness. David recognises his sinful nature – ‘I was born guilty’/‘I know my transgressions’. He asks God to blot out his iniquities.

Are we complacent as Christians because we know God forgives us? Or do we face up to our failings? Is the way we live truly rooted in a life of faithfulness, showing love to all? Do we need to change our minds, behave differently? Are we ready to say ‘I know my transgressions’? Are we ready to ask of God, ‘Restore me to the joy of your salvation’?

Chris Davis

Gracious God, have mercy on me according to your steadfast love.
Help me to be aware of my failings, to change my mind and
be ready to live a life of faith, hope and love in your name.
Restore me to the joy of your salvation. Amen.