Crooked sticks - Hope 103.2

Crooked sticks

By David ReayFriday 7 Oct 2016LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Psalm 51:3-6

3            For I recognize my rebellion;
                  it haunts me day and night.
4            Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
                  I have done what is evil in your sight.
              You will be proved right in what you say,
                  and your judgment against me is just.
5            For I was born a sinner—
                  yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
6            But you desire honesty from the womb,
                  teaching me wisdom even there. (NLT)

These words were written by the great king David, a man after God’s heart, the human epitome of kingship, the chief author of the great Old Testament songbook we call the Psalms.

The words were written after this great one, this model king, had committed adultery with Bathsheba, and had arranged for her husband to be killed in battle in a futile attempt to conceal his sin. So what is going on here?

Simply this: David was a man after God’s heart not because he was perfect but because he was well aware of his own imperfections. This penitential Psalm is an expression not only of his sinfulness but also of his godliness. The mark of a godly person is not that they never sin, but they recognise their sin and deal with it.

The example of David reminds us that none of us gets it right all the time. We go astray. That does not make us wicked, it makes us human. But David also reminds us that we can’t take such sin lightly. We bring it to God in true penitence, we make amends, we trust in his everlasting mercy. We believe his goodness outweighs our badness.

We are not on the scrapheap because we have done wrong. God uses imperfect people because they are the only ones he has. As St Ignatius says, God uses crooked sticks to draw straight lines.

David Reay

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