Have you ever been in a position where you know you have sinned, you have done something wrong and all you do is try to cover it up, or you blame it on your circumstances, or on other people? You know how bad it is but you try to live as if it is not there. Maybe you haven’t been in that position but you have come across people that have. If I am honest, completely honest with myself, there were plenty of times when I found myself in that place.
King David also found himself in that situation. You might be familiar with the story of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11) and you know that David committed adultery, then to cover it up he had Uriah killed. The problem with sin is that it cannot be hidden from God. God sees the heart and God sent the prophet Nathan to confront David and although God took away David’s sin there were consequences for his sin. There are always consequences.
David knew he had sinned, but he also knew he had sinned against God. David wrote Psalm 51 after Nathan confronted him. This is what He says in verses 1 to 4:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. (emphasis mine)
David didn’t come before God with excuses about his circumstances and he didn’t blame any of his servants or family members. No. He knew he had sinned against his God and he was broken before his King.
We can see that David knew what God desires:
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.(verses 16 and 17)
God wants us to come before him with a broken heart, not bringing sacrifices or making promises but in humility, recognising we need Him to help us. David desperately needed God’s mercy and pleads for it. He knew he needed God to clean his heart from his sin. He knew God’s love and compassion. David had experienced God’s love, compassion and protection many times in his life.
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. (verses 1 and 2)
Until now, we have seen a man who knows what he has done is wrong and has offended God. He is not trying to get away from it, in fact he knows he needs God. He knows he cannot erase the past or the consequences of his choices, but he desperately wants his relationship with God restored. So he prays the famous verses:
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Picture the King here, broken, completely helpless, completely aware of his failure, fully prepared to give to God his life and trust in Him. David needed to bow before God in repentance, with nothing to offer except a broken and contrite heart, before he could ask God to create a new and pure heart within him. What a great example we have here of how we should act when we sin against God.
One of the greatest problems we have is that we do not think the bad choices we make, the sin we allow in our lives, are against God. We tell ourselves we are only hurting other people, or even worse, we say we are trying to protect ourselves against other people. No. Sin, no matter how big or how small is always against God. It always breaks our fellowship with our King and Lord.
In the case of King David, God sent Nathan, the message God had for David was pretty clear. There was no escape from the truth. David saw his sin exposed and he knew only God could help him.
We have the Holy Spirit living in us if we have given our lives to Jesus. This is one of the works of the Holy Spirit. Working in us to convince and convict us of sin in our hearts. He guides us and helps us to live in a way that is pleasing to God. When we sin, He convicts us. Puts that feeling in our hearts that we have done wrong. We must listen. We must repent and must come before God and confess our sin and cling on to the fact that God can and will create in us a pure heart if we are willing to submit to His rule over our lives.
In 1 John 1 verse 9 we read:
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
We don’t need to find excuses. We know that on this side of Eden sin still afflicts us. We know we are in a battle of the flesh against the spirit, and, when we fall let us not make excuses and play blame games. God wants us to come before Him with a broken and humble heart. We need to say sorry (not the “say sorry” we teach our children sometimes). No. We need to feel remorse. To feel the sorrow that comes with acknowledging we have sinned against the most gracious, merciful, holy, God. The sorrow that robs us of sleep, taste, and all senses until all we can do is pour our hearts out before God, recognising we need His help. We must remember how much He loves us. He gave His Son to save us and redeem us. We are secure in His hands. So may we approach his throne as David did.
Photo by Engin Akyurt