Weekly Reflections: Season of penitence


“I have sinned against the Lord,” David said. Nathan replied, “The Lord forgives you; you will not die.” — 2 Samuel 12:13

Lenten Season

The whole Christian world is now in the season of Lent. It starts with Ash Wednesday that falls significantly on a Valentine’s Day this year.

Lenten Season is a time for penitence. It is an occasion for self-examination. It is a moment for repentance and for seeking forgiveness and reconciliation. Indeed, this should have been an opportune time for politicians involved in various scams to really seek God’s face and to change their ways. This is not a time to cover up the truth and try to justify one’s self before God and the people. Rather it is a time to face the truth and accept one’s own wrongdoings and make amends.

The practice of putting ashes on worshippers’ foreheads on Ash Wednesday is a symbol of cleansing. In ancient times when soap was yet to be invented, ashes were used to remove dirt. Thus, receiving these ashes on one’s forehead carries with it a firmed resolve to transform and remove the dirt from one’s soul.

King David Story

This reminds us of King David of Ancient Israel. He is considered to be the greatest king of Israel. In fact, even the Zionists of modern day Israel would like to bring back the Davidic Kingdom. King David was able to unite the 12 tribes of Israel into one great nation. Besides, he conquered the Canaanites and other neighboring tribes and integrated them into his kingdom.

But King David was not sinless. He took the beautiful wife of his Hittite soldier Uriah, and even planned Uriah’s eventual death. He thought no one knew what he did. But God actually knew it from the very start. Nothing is hidden from the all searching eyes of the living God. And so, God asked Prophet Nathan to confront the King (cf. 2 Sam. 12).

Parable of the Lamb

Prophet Nathan used the Parable of the Lamb to make King David realized the evils he had done. It was a story of a rich and powerful man who had so many lambs. He had a neighbor with only one lamb. But when this rich man had a visitor, instead of taking from his own lambs he took his neighbor’s only lamb to feed his visitor (cf. 2 Sam. 12:1-4). King David got very angry and told Prophet Nathan that the rich man must be killed. But the Prophet responded saying, “You are that man.”

King David realized his wrongdoings. “I have sinned against the Lord,” he said. Prophet Nathan replied, “The Lord forgives you; you will not die.” (2 Samuel 12:13). The King repented and put ashes on his body and wore sackcloth.

But nevertheless, he had to accept and suffer silently the consequences of his evil deeds. His first son with Bathsheba died. Then, his son Absalom also staged a coup and was killed in the process. His daughter with one of his wife was raped by his son with another wife and the brother of the rape victim also killed the rapist. King David knew in his heart that all these things were consequences of his wrongdoings. He believed in historical retribution, meaning what we have done to others will also come back to us historically in the fullness of time.

Time to make amends

The point of this Biblical story is the fact that even today we have people in government who like King David have done great abominations against God and the people behind closed doors. They were involved in various scams behind the scenes. In the words of Jesus Christ our Lord, they are like tombs – white outside, but full of decaying corpses inside (cf. Mt. 23). They appear to be clean before people’s eyes, but they cannot actually hide from God’s soul-searching eyes.

Thanks to the whistle-blowers, they are the Prophet Nathans of our day. They expose the truth and confront the powers-that-be. But instead of repenting and have remorse, seek forgiveness, and make amends, these evil doers of our time desperately justify themselves, muddle the issues and threaten the bears of truth. How we wish these powers-that-be would do a King David. For the principle of historical retribution will finally get to them in the fullness of time. And the only antidote to this is repentance and forgiveness, and the sincere desire to make amends.

The Lenten Season is, indeed, the best opportune time to do all these things. May God’s Spirit, then, empower us to change our ways in this season of penitence. # nordis.net


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