“Felix Culpa!” – 2 Sam. 11-12, Ps. 51
Questions for discussion/reflection:
- The narrative text in 2 Samuel and the corresponding prayer in Psalm 51 both express themes of sin, confession, forgiveness, and salvation. How do these texts affect you? In what ways do you relate to these themes in David’s experience?
- Augustine’s Latin expression, “Felix culpa!” means “O happy sin!” How does David’s great sin become an occasion for happiness? How have you experienced pain regarding your own sin? Have you also experienced joy in God’s forgiveness and salvation?
- Nathan’s creative pastoral confrontation of David’s sin through the use of parable underscores David’s hypocrisy: he’s outraged at a sin in a hypothetical other while blind to that very sin in himself until directly exposed. Jesus speaks to this phenomenon in Matt. 7:1ff; Paul speaks to it in Rom. 2:1ff. What sins are you especially critical of in others? Could these be an issue in your own life?
- Nathan confronts David’s sin personally and directly: “You are that man!” (12:7). David responds personally and simply: “I’ve sinned against the Lord” (12:13). How will you take personal responsibility for your sin?
- Paul’s proclamation, “Where sin increased, grace multiplied even more” (Rom. 5:20) expresses the reality for David and us all. Take some time this week to identify your sin (ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you; see Ps. 139:23-24), confess it to God, and receive his gracious forgiveness and saving love! Make Psalm 51:10-12 a daily prayer.