Song of Songs 3:1-4:16; 2 Corinthians 8:21-24; Psalms 51:1-9; Proverbs 15:5-7
Psalms: “Be gracious to me, God, according to your faithful love; according to your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion. Completely wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me. Against you — you alone — I have sinned and done this evil in your sight. So you are right when you pass sentence; you are blameless when you judge. Indeed, I was guilty when I was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me. Surely you desire integrity in the inner self, and you teach me wisdom deep within. Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Turn your face away from my sins and blot out all my guilt.” (Psalms 51:1-9 CSB)
The pre-script instructions for this psalm state that this psalm was written by David when the prophet Nathan came to him after he had gone to Bathsheba. One of David’s most well-known psalms was written in the midst of one of his most shameful experiences… and he wanted to make sure that everyone was very clear on the context of the psalm. That information in and of itself shows just how complete and sincere David’s confession and repentance was.
For background, while all of David’s men were off at war, David used his privileged position as king to have his way with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his most valiant soldiers. When Bathsheba ended up pregnant, he tried to coerce Uriah (Bathsheba’s husband) to sleep with her. When Uriah refused in honor of his fellow soldiers on the battle field, David had Uriah killed and took Bathsheba as his own wife. In the midst of all that scandal, the baby that was conceived ended up dying. It was a horribly wicked event in David’s life. David tried to cover it all up until Nathan the Prophet confronted David with everything he had done. At that moment, David knew that he couldn’t hide things from God. He was instantly convicted and wrote this psalm for all to hear. His days of hiding and covering up were over. The only way that he could be released from his sin was to bring the darkness in his life out into the light, confess, and repent.
In his confession and repentance, David first appealed to God’s love, mercy and compassion. He confessed the depth of his guilt, rebellion and sin and admitted that he had lost his integrity. Not only had he sinned against Bathsheba, Uriah and the people of Israel – he had sinned against his beloved Lord and God. David knew that there was no recourse for his actions, so he appealed to God to cleanse him, blot out the stain of sin on his life, and make him whiter than snow.
Many people, when they “confess” their wrongs, they offer excuses to try and justify their actions. One very common justification is, “I was born this way… I was born with these desires… I was born with these inclinations.” David acknowledged that he was conceived and born in sin – but that was not an excuse. It was stated as evidence that he needed God to deliver him… that he couldn’t do it on his own. David offered no excuses for his sin… he did it, it was wrong, and to go any further, he needed God’s cleansing and forgiveness. David’s worst moment of shame became an example to all of us of how to completely and sincerely confess, repent, and trust God for restoration. If David could be forgiven and restored, how much more can we be forgiven and restored in Christ. We just need to sincerely confess, repent, and ask for forgiveness.
Proverbs: “A fool despises his father’s discipline, but a person who accepts correction is sensible.” (Proverbs 15:5 CSB)
One of the reasons why David was considered a man after God’s heart and honored with the privilege of “fathering” the Messiah was because he did not despise his Father’s discipline. When Nathan confronted David, David could have become defensive and despised the correction. That would have made David a fool. Instead David accepted the correction, confessed and repented – and because of that, Jesus Christ is known to us today as the Son of David.
Prayer: Lord, Your word teaches that if I confess my sins, You are faithful and righteous to forgive my sins and cleanse me of all unrighteousness. In order to stay clean and free, I must stay out of the shadows and live in the light as You are in the light. May Your Holy Spirit convict me of sin and righteousness that I may quickly confess, rapidly repent and remain in fellowship with You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.