Fifth Sunday of Lent: A Repentant Heart Receives Victory

By Chantá Barrett

Based on Psalm 51:1-12.

Meu Coracao/My Heart, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54138 [retrieved January 28, 2015]. Original source: Amanda Vivan, Flickr Creative Commons.

Meu Coracao/My Heart, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54138 [retrieved January 28, 2015]. Original source: Amanda Vivan, Flickr Creative Commons.

A repentant heart receives victory. This is a simplistic statement that holds a profound truth. What truth, might you ask? It is the truth that there is a victory that is received by a person who humbles themselves and repents; repents of their sinful acts, whether it be in word, thought, or deed. When one repents they have received victory over their sinful nature in that area. I know you’re probably saying to yourself that you need to see evidence of this in the Bible. Okay, then, let’s take a journey to the book of Psalms, visit the fifty-first chapter, and chat with the first twelve verses.

So that we can more easily relate to what the verses have to say, I’ll share a little background on this text. King David was the most powerful man in Israel at this time and the prophet Nathan had just called David out on David’s sinful behavior. Nathan used an allegory to highlight the despicable actions of a selfish, self-centered, greedy individual. When the king became completely outraged with full disdain for this person in the story, and wanted to take vengeance on him for what he had done, Nathan pointed out that the person in the story was none other than the king himself.

You see, King David had lusted after and coveted the wife of another man. He then sent for her, committed adultery with her, had her husband killed, and took her to be his wife (2 Samuel 11 and 12). Some scholars say that Psalm 51 was written by David after Nathan reproved him.

In these twelve verses, David begs God for mercy, asks to be cleansed, and admits his sin. David recognizes God’s sovereignty and acknowledges that God knew better. David is cognizant of the fact that if God cleanses him, David will be free from the filth of his sin; David goes a step further and requests that God give him a willing spirit to not return to the sin.

We can all stand to take a page from the king’s playbook when we are called on our sin. David did not compound his many sins with more sin by being prideful. He didn’t cloak his guilt with denial or take offense with Nathan or Nathan’s message. I wonder how many of us, when faced with our own failures, are as strong and as honest as David? How many of us immediately accept the indictment of our actions and throw ourselves on the mercy of God’s court? To borrow a phrase from my pastor, “If I were to take my halo off,” I would concede that my repentance is not always immediate. With David, however, it was.

King David did suffer consequences for his actions. Just as God spoke through the prophet, there was always death and fighting among David’s children. David himself was publicly humiliated by his own son sleeping with David’s wives. Yet David was restored and to this day is remembered as the most loved king of Israel. He had a repentant heart and he received the victory.

This post is part of a Lenten series. To read other posts in the series, click on the word “Lent” in the list on the right, under “Find Posts About….”

Chantá BarrettChanta Barrett is serving as an intern in American Baptist Women’s Ministries for the 2014-2015 academic year. A member and ministry leader at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Chantá is in her second year of studies at Palmer Theological Seminary, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Chantá is also founder of LACAA’S LLC, a Christian organization that writes, directs, and produces Christian productions through theatrical plays, videos, television, and films.

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One thought on “Fifth Sunday of Lent: A Repentant Heart Receives Victory

  1. Humbling yourself and confessing you sins before God always opens up the right doors. The sin we keep in closes us to how God can use us to the fullest. Thanks for you great example of David.

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