Heartfelt Plea to God for Forgiveness – Psalm 51
1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your loving kindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin. New American Standard Bible (NASB)
In 1991, in Texas, two thirteen year olds were trying out for a place on a cheerleading squad. The mother of one of the girls, hired a hitman, to kill the other girls mother. She knew that the death of the girls mother would be so distressing to her, that in all likelihood she would drop out of the competition, and her own daughter would win the spot on the squad.
God knew what he was doing when he included coveting in his commandments. When we are consumed by desire for something, that desire is only the beginning of displeasing God, it can so often lead to acts that separate us even further from God.
King David wrote Psalm 51 after he had committed grievous sin. He had taken another mans wife to his bed, she became pregnant. He then tried to hide the pregnancy by giving her husband the opportunity to sleep with her, except the man refused. Uriah was fighting a war for David, and he insisted that he could not take pleasure in his wife during the battle. So David had him sent into the fiercest part of the fighting, with orders that the other soldiers withdraw from him, knowing, indeed planning, that he would not survive.
Psalm 51 is a beautiful and heartfelt plea to God, for forgiveness. We can read it, and shake our heads over the enormity of David’s sin. It probably seems much bigger, much more dramatic than anything we could ever be capable of. He acted in a way that caused great harm to others, as well as being abhorrent to God. But, David’s sin began with something small. He wanted something that was not his to take. He coveted Bathsheba.
How often do we feel pangs of envy? Perhaps your neighbour has a bigger pool, or a newer car, or a nicer house than you do. Perhaps your work colleague has smarter children, or a better looking wife. Perhaps your college room mate is more popular than you. And perhaps you want those things for yourself. How far are you prepared to go to get them?
Coveting means that instead of being God centred, your life is self-centred. The act of coveting often makes us blind to the things we have, as we are consumed instead by the things we think we want. Instead, centre your life on God, let your desires be about what he wants. And don’t be fooled into thinking that coveting is no big deal, because it can be a slippery slope, where sin spirals out of control.
Prayer: Lord help me to fix my eyes firmly on you, I want my life to reflect your values and desires, not my own. Amen