C.S. Lewis said; “Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement; he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.” David was the King of Israel. He was responsible to not only lead the people politically but even more importantly he was to lead them spiritually. However, the Bible tells us that he committed adultery with Bathsheba, had her husband murdered and then carries on as if nothing happened. How often do God’s people sin against Him and then carry on as if nothing happened? How often do the people of God hide the sin in their lives or minimize that sin or worse yet, justify it? How often does the average Christian actually weep over their sin? Are we as God’s children truly broken over our sin or have we become desensitized by the world?
What if God’s people repented and wept over their sin? What if God’s people were really broken over the sin in their life and their rebellion against God? How might God use the repentance of the church to actually bless the church? The average Christian wants to see the unsaved repent and come to Christ but are we as the church willing to confess? Are we broken over our sin as David was as seen in Psalm 51? It’s not that David was broken at first. It wasn’t until Nathan held him accountable and basically called David out that he broke down and repented of his sin. And although David sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah her husband, he realized more than anything, he had sinned against God.
In verse 1, David doesn’t make any excuses. He doesn’t try to blame someone else for his disobedience. He simply asks God for mercy. David recognizes that God is a loving God, a merciful God and a forgiving God. He didn’t seek forgiveness based on his past goodness but on the eternal goodness of God. The language David uses speaks of the brokenness in his heart. He pleads with God to wash him thoroughly, to cleanse him from his sin. David paints this picture of God washing him over and over and over again. He viewed himself as being so filthy and dirty before the Lord and the burden of his unconfessed sin had weighed on him over time. And this is what sin does in the life of a believer, it wears you down, it weighs on you until you become broken over it and confess it to God.
When I was a kid, I accidently put a big hole in a wooden door leading to my closet. I had been careless but I sought to cover it up. I knew my parents would be angry with me and punish me and so I put a poster on the door which covered the hole nicely. Like David, I went on as if nothing happened. Now covering a whole in the door can hardly be compared to committing adultery and murder but the principle is the same. When we make a mistake and practice deception, repentance is the cure for what ails us. In verse 3 David states that his sin was always before him. During the time David spent ignoring his evil act with Bathsheba, his sin was staring him in the face. It was digging at his conscience, drawing remorse from his very being to the point that his own life became a burden to him.
So what does David do? He just comes clean. He confesses how he had sinned against God, how he’d been sinful from birth and how depraved a human being he was. David understood that God desired the truth. However, the problem for some people today is that the truth isn’t always convenient. Winston Churchill once said; “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.” Sin that goes unconfessed greatly hinders a believer’s walk with God. It also hinders the church much like the sin of Achan hindered God’s people. It wasn’t until Achan was held accountable for his actions that God once again blessed His people. Think about it: is there sin in your life that has gone unconfessed? What if you not only confessed it but was broken over it because you sinned against a God who is so loving, merciful and forgiving?
What is so beautiful about this psalm is that David begins with repentance, he’s broken over his sin but he leaves rejoicing. David so desired to be in a right relationship with God again. His peace had been interrupted. His joy had been stolen and his fellowship with God broken. And these are the consequences for unconfessed sin. David paints this picture of his bones being broken under the guilt and the conviction of his sin. Therefore, he sought a clean heart and a renewed spirit that only God could give him. And God did this for David as he repented of his sins and pleaded with God to forgive him.
The church sings about and prays for revival. We think that if the people in our community would just get right with God we’d have a revival in the church. However, maybe the church should lead the way. Maybe God’s people need to get right with God first. Maybe God is waiting for His people to repent of unconfessed sin so that He may further bless the church. How long has it been since you were truly broken over the sin in your life? How long have you ignored the conviction of the Holy Spirit on your heart? And how long can you carry that burden which separates you from the peace and goodness of God? As with David, your sin will remain before you until the time you confess it and repent. And then you will once again enjoy the peace and joy God offers a faithful follower of Christ.
If you have never received Christ as your Savior, if you have never repented of your sins, please know that the Bible says; “God made His Son who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 Pray and ask God to forgive you and enter into a loving relationship with Him!