Since everything has come crashing down, we are and will continue to see repentance coming from men who should have confessed and repented of their sin and failure of leadership at Mars Hill Church years ago. The reactions to these confessions and acts of repentance range from anger, skepticism and disappointment, to accolade and great rejoicing.
This brings us to Psalm 51.
This psalm is by far the most recognized statement of repentance in history. It is an amazing example of how to deal with sin.
It would do us good to review the raw facts leading up to King David’s repentance.
- David becomes the kind of leader that no longer goes into the battle with his men. He is the King, and he delegates his leadership to others.
- He sees Bathsheba bathing, and uses his position as King to violate her. She was a young woman, he was the king.
- She becomes pregnant, and he calls for Uriah, her husband, to return from the battlefield so that he can sleep with Uriah’s wife and keep the adultery hidden.
- When Uriah acts like a true soldier, and refuses to leave his men, David plotted and carried out his murder.
- David marries Bathsheba, and prepares for the birth of a son.
David’s sin was calculated and tactical. He was not coerced or surrounded by peer pressure. He was not a young man, but a mature man who loved God and desired and experienced a profound walk with God.
Yet his repentance did not come until Nathan risked his life by confronting the King and calling for his repentance.
Psalm 51 was the result.
I am sure that Psalm 51 was no comfort to the family of Uriah the Hittite. I am sure they struggled with the wording. “It was not specific enough… David did not take enough personal responsibility… He failed to name his sins clearly… he seems to blame others…”
But his cry was sincere and pleasing to God.
So as I read recent confessions from the elders, I accept the words as from men who have been convicted by the crushing circumstances around them, and I will accept them at face value.
As the reality of David’s sin came into view, he was crushed with the consequence of his sin. The depth of the tragedy of the loss of Uriah, a good man. The crushing loss of his son. I am sure the pain of that never left King David. The negative consequences of his sin are legion.
But his confession was real.
I am sure David had to make matters right and repent and offer restitution to the family of Uriah. Psalm 51 was not his wording to that grieving family, nor was this how he faced his own family. So I trust we will see more from the Mars Hill elders as well. Having spoken to them personally, I am sure of such coming over the days ahead.
But I do accept their confessions, past and present, and I encouraged all to do so. They are being expressed as the reality of their sin against Paul Petry and Bent Meyer, and the tragic consequences of the sin of those 22 elders are beginning to be seen and understood.
I will also pray for these men, and pledge to help them in their walk of repentance. There is newness of life in true repentance and I long for such in the lives of every repentant man.
So help us God.