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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

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This psalm is commonly understood as David's confession of the wrong he committed against Bathsheba and Uriah (2 Samuel 11). I love the story about the courageous prophet Nathan telling King David a parable about his own sin. When we are peeled apart from our self-preservation and deception, we can see justice more clearly. David is horrified and quickly passes judgment against the transgressor. I imagine every jaw in the throne room dropped when Nathan declared, "You are the man!" (2 Samuel 12:1-7).

How embarrassing! David could have recoiled from this interaction with a defensive or violent response. But he didn't. For all of his faults, David found the self-awareness and humility to receive the conviction, to hear the cost of his behavior, and to return to God with sincere apology and the desire to be made new. How can we encourage repentance and vulnerability as biblical and faithful responsibilities in our leaders and in ourselves today?

Merciful God, make us brave in baring to you what we hide from the world. Teach us to trust your holy forgiveness and life promised in Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Meta Herrick Carlson, '08
Pastor, Bethlehem Lutheran Church Twin Cities, Minnetonka (Minn.) Campus

Psalm 51:1-10 (NRSV)

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.
5 Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.
6 You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.