April 24, 2018

Grace to Cleanse, Power to Free

April 24, 2018


Psalm 23
1 Chronicles 11:1-9
Revelation 7:13-17

This weekend’s reading: Matthew 16:13-20


“And the Lord your God said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’. . . And David became more and more powerful, because the Lord Almighty was with him.” (1 Chron 11:2, 9)
I once asked a precocious 5-year-old what her favorite Bible story was, and she replied, “David and Bathsheba.” Once again, I learned, “Ask a child a question, and you get an answer you don’t expect.” Everyone seems to know this sordid tale of David’s great sin, and the real question is: Why did God continue to favor David when his personal judgment was so clouded and his character flaws so obvious? Other kings “did what was wrong in the sight of God” and were never heard from again. David was different; he humbled himself and acknowledged God as the true sovereign of Israel.
No human ruler is flawless, but like the rest of us, even the great ones must be willing to come to the Mercy Seat, lay their sins before God, and ask forgiveness. David sought forgiveness from God, not as a show—not a televised, self-aggrandizing “apology”—but by fasting and lying all night on the ground. He accepted the consequences of his actions and acknowledged the hurt he had caused. God made David the shepherd boy a great king—and known as the ancestor of Jesus—because David recognized his sinfulness and his need to be reconciled to God. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is the Lamb that took on himself the sins of the world and now sits on the throne, still our Shepherd, protector, and nurturer. God’s mercy rains down on us like living water from heaven, washing us clean and wiping away our tears.
 “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev 7:17).


  • How do we respond to God’s forgiveness in our lives?
  • What is the hardest thing to forgive in another person? Can forgiveness be healing, even for the person who was wronged?


  • Pray the Lord’s Prayer together, using the word “sins” instead of “trespasses.” Can we live up to the phrase “as we forgive those who sin against us”? Why is this hard?
  • Talk about forgiveness and reconciliation. How can we encourage others to tell the truth and offer them the hope of forgiveness?


Savior, like a shepherd, lead us; much we need thy tender care. Thou hast mercy to relieve us, grace to cleanse, and power to free. We are Thine, Thou dost befriend us. Thou hast loved us, love us still. Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, hear, O hear us when we pray. Amen.