Bible Studies For Life

A Prayer of Confession                     Unit 2  Session 6                     18 NOV 18

MATT 6:12 Here is a statement that most read but don’t think about. Do you really want the Father to forgive you of your sins in the same manner as you forgive others? This is what you are to pray! What a potentially dangerous prayer! Beware what you ask for. This may be an indication of how much we think about what we read and quote from the Bible. In some churches, they say Matt 6:9b-13 as a prayer every Sunday.

MATT 6:13 This is a hard verse to read because the Greek word for “temptation” means 3986. peirasmos, pi-ras-mos'; from G3985; a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by impl. adversity:--temptation, X try. Yet doesn’t James say (James 1:13 RSV) "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one;"? Well we need to look to the other Greek. “Lead” has a permissive imperative meaning: “Do not allow us to be led into temptation.” The prayer is actually asking the Father to protect us from temptation by keeping us from being brought into it. But this doesn’t guarantee the elimination of temptations. This would not banish Freewill for us. So here is the key. The Father can protect us only when we are working within His will: i.e., when we are being righteous. Carnal Christians cannot expect this to be effective. So Jesus continues to say to pray that the Father will “deliver us from the Evil One.” (Greek has the definite article. Thus keep us from Satan!) The rest of verse 13 is not in the Greek.

Ps 51:1-2 Dr. Hobbs wrote in his Studying Adult Life and Work Lessons, Jul-Sep 1997, page 79 "David wrote it following the events described in 2 Samuel 11:1-12:23." This may be correct but why didn't David include the situation of the unnamed first born of Bathsheba? So there are three areas that are hard to understand:

1.      Why did Nathan say: "The Lord has also put away your sin" and yet declare: "the child that is born to you shall die"? This may seem a conflict to (Psa 103:10 RSV) "He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor requite us according to our iniquities." The Hebrew for "requite" is 1580. gamal, gaw-mal'; a prim. root; to treat a person (well or ill), i.e. benefit or requite.

·         The answer is God does forget forgiven sin but the results of one's sins may remain and have to be deal with in this lifetime. If I kill someone and repeat, I will be forgiven, but the person still will remain dead and I may die in the electric chair as a forgiven sinner.

·         The David's sin impact went far beyond him and affected the nation. God had to show that David attitude of "despised me" (Hebrew - 959. bazah, baw-zaw'; a prim. root; to disesteem:--despise, disdain, contemn (-ptible), + think to scorn, vile person.) could not be allowed to a Holy God. See 2 Sam 12:12.

·         Note particularly (Luke 12:48b RSV) "…Everyone to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more." The principle applied to David as the king of God's people.

2.      Why did the innocent unnamed child have to die? This is a hard one in light of (Deu 24:16 RSV) ""The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor shall the children be put to death for the fathers; every man shall be put to death for his own sin."

·         Babies do not sin until the age of accountability. Therefore, the unnamed child was not killed by God because of his sin, but because of David's gross sin. Yet this seems counter to the Law. However, look at (Exo 34:7 KJV)  "Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation." Deut 24:16 addresses the just thing of protecting the innocent, but Ex 34:7 addresses the life effects of the sin. Note 2 Sam 12:11-12.

·         Life in those days was much more pagan. Everything that happened was thought to be because the gods made it happen. God needed to show he had no part in causing David's sin.

·         God had set a tough precedence in the wilderness when people "despised" him.

·         It certainly is true the child went straight to Paradise. This still does not set well with most people.

·         The answer is not easy to find and is open to interpretation.

3.      David's prayer for the child was answered with a "No." David's acceptance of the answer is a model. But it is unlikely he wrote this psalm knowing the answer. Surely he would have included it in the psalm.

This psalm starts with a call to God's mercy and not his justice. Justice requires a payment be made for the illegal act. Mercy is waving the payment. David wanted mercy based upon the love-nature of God. (1 John 4:8b RSV) "… for God is love." "Love" in the Greek is agape meaning in context God's kind of love. The Hebrew means essentially the same. God showed both to David. Always it is God who decides and not our request-demands to him. David uses parallelisms. His facts are right. Only God can forgive sins. Only God can make a sinner, lost or saved, clean of one's sins. "Blot out" is as David wrote in (Psa 103:12 RSV) "as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us." When God forgives he also forgets. That is Godly mercy. However, we rarely forget what we forgive. Some cannot even forgive themselves.

PS 51:3 David admitted openly his sin he had been trying to keep a total secret. This is the first step. But many people admit their sins only because they get caught and mean nothing more than "I'm sorry I got caught." Admitting the nature of one's sins is only a part of repentance. A vital and essential component of repentance is (Luke 3:8 KJV) "Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." David offered none of this in the psalm and none is found in 2 Sam 12. But God declared he had "put away your sin." Perhaps this is another reason why the unnamed child was taken.

PS 51:4 David's words sound pious yet so self-centered. "Sinned" in Hebrew means 2398. chata', khaw-taw'; a prim. root; prop. to miss; hence (fig. and gen.) to sin; by infer. to forfeit, lack, expiate, repent, (causat.) lead astray, condemn:--bear the blame, cleanse, commit [sin], by fault, harm he hath done, loss, miss, (make) offend (-er), offer for sin, purge, purify (self), make reconciliation, (cause, make) sin (-ful, -ness), trespass. He harmed not just God but Bathsheba, Uriah, Joab, Nathan, and the nation. Sin is not just against God. But God is the only one who can forgive sin as to its eternal harm. Note (1 John 3:4 KJV) "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." David is not showing a full theological and social impact of his sin. But God saw the sincerity of his heart. So in spite of his errors, God forgave him his sin.

PS 51:5 This is not an easy verse. Many use this verse incorrectly to support the wrong doctrine that humans babies are sinners when they are born. (Isa 7:16 RSV) "For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted." A child has to be able to choose before there is accountable sin. All children, not at their age of accountability (this age varies with each child), who die will go to be with the Father. Therefore "in sin did my mother conceive me" means neither David was a sinner when he was born nor was his mother got pregnant in a sinful manner. He actually speaks a parallelism. "Shapen in iniquity" and "in sin" refers to the fact that all children are born with the tendency to sin. Note this carefully. Jesus was also born with the SAME tendency to sin because he was born as a 100% human. (Heb 2:14 RSV)  "Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil," By doing so Jesus proved a person does not have to choose to sin. He justified the Law. Children are born into a sinful environment. Jesus was the only one who rose above his environment and choose never to sin.

PS 51:6 Another parallelism. Wisdom exists only when based on truth. God wants both in the inner person of each of his children. (2 Pet 1:5 RSV)  "For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge," (Eph 1:9 RSV)  "For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ"

PS 51:7 Another parallelism. God is the source of forgiveness and forgetfulness.

PS 51:8 "Joy" is of the inner person being in a salvation relationship. It has nothing to do with physical circumstances. "Gladness" is an outward expression of that joy. God convicts a person of sin. David felt it so much soul-pain that it was as if his bones had been broken.

PS 51:9 This mercy aspect of God's forgiveness has been addressed previously. There is no need to revisit repented sins in continual remorse and repentance. When in verse 3 David said "and my sin is ever before me", he was not yet forgiven. He was still asking for it. Certainly God does not forgive casual repentance. One cannot just sin and expect automatic forgiveness if one is not sincere in repenting.

PS 51:10 The Hebrew for "right" means 3559. kuwn, koon; a prim. root; prop. to be erect (i.e. stand perpendicular). So it is not a new salvation but a new stability that David requests. David's request is not Biblical. See (Eph 4:22-24 RSV)  "Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, {23} and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, {24} and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." God's saves but the individual makes a pure life (heart).

PS 51:11 This is yet another parallelism. Much depends upon what words are capitalized. But the context is of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit never permanently indwelt saved people. The usual was for the Holy Spirit to be with a saved person. For God's reasons, the Holy Spirit might leave a person as in 1 Sam 16:1,76,14.

PS 51:12 "Free" in Hebrew means 5081. nadiyb, naw-deeb'; from H5068; prop. voluntary, i.e. generous; hence, magnanimous. The Grand Holy Spirit is the one who makes joy known.

PS 51:13-15 This should be the action of all forgiven Christians as Jesus commanded in Matt 28:19-20. David is the rare Israelite who ever talked about witnessing to Israelites (transgressors) and to Gentiles (sinners). Note David calls upon Yahweh to forgive him (open his lips) so he can properly praise Yahweh.


            Therefore, Psalm 51 was written after David got caught in his many sins and was given time to think about them. David was not studying the Law as the Law required. The more you know of the Bible and its meanings, the less you will sin and the more sinful sin will be to you.


Marvin Ganote, Hobbs Study Class, Adult Teacher. Home Page: