Lenten Bible Study
Mark your calendars for our Lenten Bible Study led by Pastor Michael Sinclair beginning on March 1 for four weeks. Meet in the community room for a light meal at 5:30 pm with the Bible Study at 6:00 pm. A sign up sheet will be on the board across from the office in February so that we know how many to plan for the meal and study.
Join Us On:
March 1 – 2 Samuel 11 & 12
March 8 – Psalm 51: 1-6
March 15 – Psalm 51: 7-12
March 22 – Psalm 51: 13-17
An in-depth look at Psalm 51. Background information from 2 Samuel 11 and 12.
Psalm 51 is ordinarily classified as a prayer for help or an individual lament/complaint. What sets it apart is that the psalmist’s complaint involves his or her own sinfulness. Thus the church has with good reason included it among the seven Penitential Psalms (Psalms 6; 32; 38; 102; 130; 143). Psalm 51 is the most dramatic and familiar of the Penitential Psalms.
The superscription is the first clue to what Psalm 51 is about: sin and forgiveness. It is an invitation for readers to hear Psalm 51 against the background of the story of David’s taking of Bathsheba and murder of her husband Uriah (2 Samuel 11), as well as the subsequent confrontation between Nathan and David (2 Samuel 12: 1-14).
This story is as much or more about God’s character than it is about human sinfulness, both of which are in view in Psalm 51: 1-6/ The series of imperatives in vv. 7-12 petition God for forgiveness and re-creation. The series is broken by v. 13, and vv. 13-15 anticipate the psalmist’s transformed existence. Verses 16-17 offer the psalmist’s concluding observations about sin and sacrifice.
As testimony to the pervasiveness of sin and as a call to be reconciled to God, Psalm 51 is clearly appropriate for its assigned use on Ash Wednesday and during the season of Lent. As a powerful Proclamation of God’s grace, this Psalm is clearly also a Psalm for all seasons. Let us pause this Lenten Season to examine our own lives. In a nutshell, Psalm 51 is not just about Israel or David or some unknown ancient psalmist; it is also about us! It is about who we are and how we are as individuals, families, churches—sin pervades our lives.