Old Testament Summary Lesson 24: “Create Within Me A Clean Heart”
- Good Similarities Extend to Latter-day David: Jews expect a “latter-day” David who would be similar to the former David in that he would be militarily, politically and spiritually capable. However, Jews choose to reflect on David’s good characteristics rather than on his grievous mistakes. His repentance is recognized. Yet, we feel that the results of his immorality and murderous conspiracy extends into times unknown to us.
- Comparing Paul with David: “. . .and yet this man (Saul) committed no unpardonable sin, because he knew not the Holy Ghost . . . while, for the crime of adultery with Bathsheba, and for ordering Uriah to be put in the front of battle in a time of war, where he was slain by the enemy . . . his soul was thrust into hell. Why? Because . . . . David possessed the gift of the Holy Ghost, and had power to speak by the light thereof. But even David . . . obtained the promise that his soul should not be left in hell, which means, as I understand it, that even he shall escape the second death.” (Gospel Doctrine, Joseph F. Smith, page 433)
- Two Categories of Sins: “. . . those of commission and those of omission. The former are more serious insofar as they involve a positive action — doing something which is forbidden. The latter consist of the failure to perform mitzvot. As far as the rabbis were concerned, the three most serious sins are murder, idolatry, and adultery or incest. They ruled that rather than commit these, a person must give up his life. In order to save his life . . .” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Moral Cleanness: Judaism is strong in its standard for Jews and non-Jews. Since there is an inclination for sinful drives, a purposeful effort to replace them is necessary. “Feelings of hatred, envy, self indulgence, sexual drives, greed are woven into man’s nature as God created him. But these impulses can be re-directed by the yezer ha-tov, guided and disciplined by the laws of the Torah, so that instead of destructive forces they become creative powers for good. The sages taught that studying the Torah and living according to its commandments are the best way to assure this good. Men then marry, have children, develop commerce, act against injustice and persecution in a spirit of responsibility and high purpose. One need only look at the world around us to see the tragic results when the yezer ha-ra is irresponsible and unrestrained.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)