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Summary: David’s prayer of contrition

The Prayer of a Contrite Heart

Psalm 51:1-19

John Shearhart

June 15, 2011

Have you ever prayed for forgiveness or confessed sin more because you knew you were supposed than because you were really penitent?

I have; many times.

You know what I mean: you commit some sin because you want to commit it and then almost subconsciously you utter in your head something like, “Lord, please forgive me.” Then you go back to life and forget all about the whole thing.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but if I’m preaching honestly I have to admit that my experience with this callousness comes more in seasons than in moments. For an all too brief season I have a heart for the Lord and a passion for His Law. I find myself up at nights thinking about His word and, like David, meditating on His precepts.

But then, gradually, imperceptibly I find myself drifting off without any thoughts of Him whatsoever. I skim my Bible, pray quick obligatory prayers, and move on. It’s in these seasons that I most often find myself in rebellion without much concern.

Oh, I hate the moments to be sure but not enough to be truly contrite. I do what I want and say the words and then do what I want all over again. But then, God works a new miracle in my heart and I find myself again weeping over Scripture and broken over sin.

This morning I want to look with you at the life of David and how he fared in two seasons similar to the ones I know. In one season he had a…

Heart of Callousness

And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem. 2And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. 3And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? 4And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. 5And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child. 6And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered. 8And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king. 9But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house. 10And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house? 11And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing. 12And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow. 13And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house. 14And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die. 16And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were. 17And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also (II Sam. 11:1-17).

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