Read: Psalm 51

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

The Bible indicates that the fifty-first psalm is the prayer King David offered after the prophet Nathan confronted David with his most egregious sin. While Uriah the Hittite was fighting in David’s army, David took Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, and had an affair with her. To cover up his indiscretion, David had Uriah killed during a military operation, and then took Bathsheba as one of his wives. This was a shocking abuse of power by one of the most beloved and revered figures in Jewish history. If there is anything redeeming about this story—and one has to look hard to find anything at all—it is David’s willingness to admit his sin when confronted with it. Unlike so many political leaders caught in scandal, David acknowledged his guilt and immediately began to repent. David asked God for a new beginning, a clean heart, and a spirit that would no longer do wrong. David requested to be made a new man.

We may not abuse power, commit adultery, or murder to cover up our failings, but that does not mean our own hearts are as white as snow. Each one of us has dark corners of our lives we would prefer that no one see or know about. But God sees and God knows, as do we. Repentance from our sinful thoughts and impulses is an essential way of making sure they do not evolve into sinful actions. If David had prayed Psalm 51 the moment he laid his eyes on Bathsheba, perhaps that cruel and gruesome chapter of David’s life would not have been written. A daily request for forgiveness can be the best defense against egregious sin.

Do you need to ask God for forgiveness today?

Lord, I do sin in thought, word, and deed. I sin in ways that are both known and unknown to me. I need Your forgiveness if I am going to have a chance at living faithfully. “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” For the cleansing of my life, I pray in Your name. AMEN.