2d. THE PSALM OF REPENTANCE
As we have seen the priest while censing, he says the 50th psalm. This psalm is one of the most important psalms and it is said during other holy services of our Church, too. First of all, let us see the historical background of this psalm.
David is the author. He was not born in palaces. He was not the child of a king or some other rich or powerful man. His father, Jesse the Bethlehemite, had eight sons. David was the youngest and grazed his father’s sheep. Divine Providence chose him to become the king of Israel. He was a poor but charming young man with marvelous abilities. He killed a lion that came to destroy his flock. Then he fought and defeated an enormous giant, the idolator Goliath and for this fact he was glorified like a national hero. After Saul’s death he was proclaimed king. God ordered the prophet Samuel to find David and anoint him king. He defeated all the enemies of Israel and extended his country’s borders. Never before had Israel reached such glory as in the days of King David.
But great deeds are often followed by failings and humiliations. This same David who killed the lion in the desert, who defeated the giant Goliath, who defeated so many enemies and reached great heights, this victor over beast and man, was himself defeated. By whom? By his own self. How? The Holy Bible narrates this incident (2 Sam 11). One day he saw a beautiful woman taking her bath in a neighboring home. Her beauty defeated him. The most glorious King of Israel fell into two horrible sins. This woman Bathsheba was married to Uriah, an excellent army officer. David ordered Uriah to fight at the most dangerous line and as a result, the brave officer was killed there. In this way David took Bathsheba into the palace as his wife. He committed two mortal sins, adultery and murder. But he had not consciousness of what he had done. He slept in the heavy sleep of sin. The courtiers and officials did not dare say anything to the king. Who led him to ask for God’s mercy? The prophet Nathan. Using a parable, he made David cry out: “I have sinned” (2 Sam 12).
The preaching was the alarm clock. God uses many means to make people repent and return to Him. But the most powerful means is His word. A Church without preaching will become a dead Church. It will consist of people who sin like David, and have no Nathan to wake them up. David’s repentance was deep and sincere. During the night David cried. His eyes became like fountains. He shed continuous tears. From the depths of his heart a warm prayer to God arose. The words of this prayer are the 50th psalm. This psalm should be our prayer, too. Because all of us are more or less sinners. May God give us a tear from the tears king David shed like rivers, when he became conscious of his sinfulness.