Today is Ash Wednesday, the day we begin Lent. This day is a time that we remember our need for God’s grace and mercy. It is a time in which we acknowledge our own sinfulness. It is a time for humility.
Traditionally on Ash Wednesday, people paint crosses on their forehead with oil and ash. This is a symbol of repentance. Throughout the Bible ashes are a symbol of expressing sorrow.
In the story of King David we encounter a deep display of repentance. King David is an incredible hero in the Bible. He is this mighty king whom is described as a godly man. But David stuffs it up, his sinfulness is very real. He sleeps with Bathsheba who is another man’s wife, then when it starts to turn to custard he sends the husband into the front line to die in battle. This results in great sorrow and confession from David which we find in Psalm 51. David pours out his heart in confession:
“Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.”
This posture of repentance that David displays in this Psalm is the posture we are called to reflect as disciples of Jesus. Sorrow and humility are appropriate responses to our sin.
This Ash Wednesday as we fast and pray may we realize our dependence upon God and our need to confess our sin before him. God seeks to restore us, to make us new, to cleanse us from sin which distorts who we are made to be.
Posted by Josh Taylor