Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of David continued...
As flawed a figure as David is, it is undeniable he is also a highly relatable figure. Because there is so much of David within the pages of Scripture, it is nigh near impossible not to find an aspect of David’s life with which we can relate.
David was not a man who was embarrassed to ask for God’s forgiveness when he stumbled. He was not one to attempt to blame it on someone else as Adam was wont to do, nor was he a man that skirted responsibility for his actions.
As such, one of David’s most often prayed prayers of petition was petitioning God for forgiveness.
Psalm 25:11, “For Your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my iniquity, for it is great.”
Psalm 25:18, “Look on my affliction, and my pain, and forgive all my sins.”
Whenever David asked God for forgiveness, he admitted his guilt before God. One does not ask to be forgiven if they haven’t done anything to be forgiven of. David knew of his own iniquity, he knew of his own sins, and when he prayed to God he did not attempt to minimize these things, or present himself before God as someone different than whom he was.
When we petition God for forgiveness, what we are doing is asking God to be spared punishment. Being aware of our own guilt, we must likewise be aware of the punishment we are deserving of, and in our petitions for forgiveness we are asking God to pardon, and not punish us as we would rightly deserve.
We serve a good God, a God who forgives when we ask for forgiveness, a God who pardons when we petition Him for a pardon. It is His good pleasure to forgive us, but we must repent and ask for forgiveness.
Isaiah 43:25-26, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins. Put Me in remembrance; Let us contend together; State your case that you may be acquitted.”
Isaiah 44:22, “I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”
This is God speaking to His own people. He is not speaking to the godless, to the heathen, to those who never knew Him, but to those who know Him and have transgressed, and sinned. It is to His own that God makes the generous offer of blotting out their transgressions and their sins, if they put Him in remembrance, and state their case before Him.
Isaiah 55:7, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”
David knew of God’s requirements when he came before Him asking for forgiveness. David knew that true repentance required the forsaking of one’s way, and a return to the Lord, who would then have mercy.
Just saying we’re sorry or asking for forgiveness in our prayers is not sufficient in and of itself. What God requires of us, is a turning, a forsaking of our wicked ways, and an embracing of righteousness and sanctification. God does not forgive just so we return to the mire from which He plucked us. He does not cleanse us, and give us white garments just so we get them muddy again, returning to our former thoughts, desires and lusts.
Not only does David pray that his iniquities and sins be forgiven him, he also prays to be forgiven of his secret faults and presumptuous sins.
Psalm 19:12-13, “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression.”
There are intentional, willful sins, transgressions men commit knowing full well exactly what they are doing, then there are unintentional sins, or sins committed through error. David repents and asks forgiveness for his intentional sins, but also for his unintentional sins.
Yes, the notion of unintentional sin is a Biblical one, and we find it within the pages of Scripture.
Leviticus 4:1-2, “Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If a person sins unintentionally against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which out not to be done, and does any of them, if the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, then let him offer to the Lord for his sin which he has sinned a young bull without blemish as a sin offering.”
The notion of unintentional sin is mentioned no less than six times within this chapter alone, and God was aware of this facet of human existence, and he included it in His Word.
There are many today within the household of faith who practice unintentional sin, because they are unaware that God considers what they are doing sinful. Ignorance of God’s word begets unintentional sin, and I’ve heard people saying ‘I didn’t know that was a sin,’ far too often within many a congregation.
The consequence of not defining what God considers sin, the consequence of not preaching against sin, is myriads of men and women who are sinning unintentionally because no one ever told them their practice was sinful.
When we clearly define what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, what is sin and what isn’t sin, then at least we know we’ve done our part, and those who have heard our words have no excuse for not adhering to the Word of the living God.
It is neither loving nor tolerant to see someone calling themselves a believer, practicing what the Bible clearly defines as sinful, and not pointing it out to them.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.