David, the adulterer and murderer- blameless?

Our priest Michael Cupp in his series on Old Testament prophets brought to our attention the interesting word from Ahijah’s prophecy on God in his mercy taking the life of Jeroboam’s son, Abijah, so that this son would not see or experience the judgment that was going to come on King Jeroboam’s dynasty. The prophet made this comparison between Jeroboam and King David:

…you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commandments and followed me with all his heart, doing only that which was right in my sight…

1 Kings 14

In other places, specifically psalms which are attributed to David, he calls himself blameless (Psalm 18, 26). And we read in Acts that David was a man after God’s own heart.

Father Mike made the point that David was considered this way before God because unlike Jeroboam, when David was confronted with his sin he repented in confession and change of heart and life. So that God forgave and removed his sins as far as the east is from the west so as to forget them entirely. Of course there were dire consequences David and Israel had to live with.

This reminds me of Paul’s words in Romans 4 when he quotes David from Psalm 32

“Blessed are those
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”

This means for us, for so many of us, and even for all of us because on one living is sinless or strictly speaking righteous before God as David himself acknowledges (Psalm 143), that arguably there is a fresh start. At least a clear slate since by faith we are justified or declared righteous before God (see Romans 4 link above). All true faith is penitent as in repentant over sin, not excusing them, but confessing and forsaking them. Not to brush aside the need for penance as in a change over time. People don’t simply commit great sin, sincerely confess it and then change entirely over night (see Psalm 51). But they can change radically with the right help from the church and over time. Yet instantly upon such repentant faith they are considered righteous in God’s sight. So that we don’t have to have the guilt of our sin hanging over us night and day. That is taken care of through the cross, through Jesus’ death for our sins. So that we can be forgiven and have new life in and through him.

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