This morning, we looked at Psalm 51, David’s psalm of repentance after he was confronted (through the prophet Nathan) about his conduct (adultery with Bathsheba and his plotting to kill her husband, Uriah the Hittite, in a futile attempt to conceal his sinful behaviour.) There, we find David appealing to God’s unfailing love and great compassion as his only hope for restoration (Ps 51:1), and we see how these qualities of God are essential to us if we are to live according to God’s ways.

Psalm 51 acts as our template for how to approach God in humility and penitence when we have sinned (as we all do, Rom 3:23). David makes no attempt to justify his behaviour but admits his sin (Ps 51:3-5). He understands that God needs more than outward conformity to rules (Ps 51:16-17) and demonstrates that repentance is the only way back (see 2 Cor 7:10).

John tells us that we must confess our sins to God and can rely on God’s faithfulness to forgive. (1 John 1:9-10) David appeals to God’s unfailing love (Hebrew hesed, often translated as ‘loving kindness’) and compassion (Hebrew racham, see also Lam 3:22-23). Our hope for forgiveness is based on God’s unfailing love and compassion; it is grounded in His love and faithfulness, demonstrated by Christ on the cross. (Eph 1:7-8) Ultimately, our willingness to change and learn when challenged by God is needed, but we rely on the character of God (Neh 9:17) in every interaction. There is hope even when we sin because of who God is.