mother and daughter hugging May 3 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Psalm 103; 2Samuel 12:24b-31; 1Chronicles 20:1b-3; Psalm 21; 2Samuel 8:2-8; 2Samuel 23:20a; 1Chronicles 18:2-8

Forgiveness and Restoration

Children (and adults) do wrong things. They are punished and made to suffer the consequences. Yet when a child cries and apologizes, her parent hugs and forgives her. Both of them can then smile and rejoice that their relationship is restored. This is how it should work, but we are not all perfect. When we forgive someone, do we completely restore that person or do we secretly hold a grudge and make that person enjoy less freedom and privileges? Do we continue to make him suffer for his sins or is there complete forgiveness? Granting forgiveness is difficult if a person has sinned against us or a loved one. However, the Apostle Paul writes,

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1Corinthians 13:4-7, NIV)

As we learned in our last Bible study, David begins to suffer consequences for his sins when his firstborn son dies (2Samuel 12:10-14). We might also suffer repercussions, although we are forgiven of our sins.

However, when someone hurts or harms us and is afterwards grieved about it and seeks amends, we need to restore him. We need to pray for a special measure of Christ's love when we are tempted not to forgive. Jesus wants us to love others as he loves us (John 15:12). He died on the cross of Calvary for our sins so we might be made righteous. We only need to turn to God from our sins and accept his gift of love to receive forgiveness. When he cleanses us from sin, he does not keep record of our offenses—he cancels our debts (Acts 3:19). We need to try to do the same.

David probably wrote Psalm 103 in remembrance of the time he was forgiven of his sins of adultery and murder. He says,

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children—with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. (Psalm 103:8-14, 17-18,NIV)

God shows his compassionate love to a broken and remorseful king, and this same love is what he shows to everyone who will truly repent and seek the LORD for forgiveness (more...). When we are compassionate to those who are genuinely sorry for their sins, we are like God.

How did God restore David? He lifted David off his knees and face, stood him up, and gave him a mission to fight against the LORD's enemies. The LORD gave him great success and even gave him the gold crown of the king of the Ammonites to wear. The Psalmist says, “God ... redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion” (Psalm 103:4, NIV). David further exalts the LORD, saying,

O LORD, the king rejoices in your strength. How great is his joy in the victories you give! You have granted him the desire of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips. You welcomed him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked you for life, and you gave it to him-- length of days, forever and ever. Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty. Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken. (Psalm 21:1-7, NIV)

Not only does God demonstrate his forgiveness and completely restore David by giving him great military victories, but God also acts with compassion toward Bathsheba and David, giving them a second child, Solomon. Because the LORD is a God of grace and kindness, he chooses to love Solomon and give him a glorious future. Somehow, although no details are explained in our text, God manifests his special love for Solomon.

How will we manifest our love for others when we tell them we forgive them? We may not always feel like forgiving, but we should nevertheless show by our actions that they are forgiven. Because God loves us we should love one another.

Lessons to Live By

  • Compassionate love is what God shows to everyone who will turn to him from their sins and seek him for forgiveness (more...)
  • When people genuinely repent, we need to forgive them as Christ forgives us. There may be consequences for their sins, but we need to extend mercy, grace and genuine forgiveness.
  • Restoration is essential to true forgiveness. We must not just speak the words, “I forgive you,” but also restore and bless those who are remorseful and want to make amends.
  • When we are compassionate, forgiving, and seek to restore those who are repentant, we are like God.

Focus Verse

John 15:12 (NIV) [Jesus said] “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

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A Look Ahead: After David is now successful again in his military campaigns, he apparently suffers a defeat. How does he Handle Defeat? How should we? Find out in our Next Lesson.

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