“Against thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight.” Psalm 51:4
King David, “a man after God’s heart, had sinned a great sin; no, two great sins!!!”
First, he had seduced Bathhseba, wife of Uriah, one of his most loyal and competent generals. Then, he had orchestrated the deceitful process where her husband was killed in battle. (II Samuel 11).
Surely, the answer arises, “how could a man of such stature as to be described as, ‘a man after God’s own heart’ sink to the level to commit two of the wicked of sins – adultery and social injustice?”
First and foremost, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. You see, it was springtime when the kings and their warriors went to war, a time to protect their crops against the enemies.
During the early years of his life David rightly led the Israelites in battle, which is why he was such a great general. But as he grew older and more prosperous, he sent the warriors out while he stayed in the palace. It was then that he saw a lady taking a bath that he was attracted to her end eventually committed adultery.
There is a major lesson for us here. So many times when we fall into sin it is because we are in the wrong place and get into trouble. Had David been on the battlefield instead of relaxing at the palace he would never have committed that sinful act. MAKE SURE YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT PLACE, WHERE GOD WANTS YOU TO BE AT ALL TIMES!!!
Secondly, David did not take the advice of one of his servants, one who certainly was a true worshipper of the God of Israel. For when David inquired about her, this servant replied, “This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite” ( II Samuel 11:3). What was the courtier getting at here? Well, he was simply warning the king as best he could, not to become involved with this beautiful woman as she was the daughter of a well-known citizen and the wife of Uriah, one of the most trusted generals. If one may paraphrase the warning of the servant it would be along these lines:
“Your majesty, this a lady who is the daughter of one of your leading citizens, and the wife of one of your best generals. Your majesty, with the greatest respect
I advise you to leave her alone.”
David, however, did not heed the advice of the servant but went ahead and summoned the lady and engaged in sexual intercourse, getting her pregnant. All of this would not have happened had he listened to the advice of one who must have been a loyal servant, deeply interested in protecting his king from becoming involved in a dangerous encounter.
Again, how often we get into trouble simply because we do not heed the advice of others – our parents, siblings, teachers, pastors, fellow workers, etc. DON’T TAKE THE ADVICE OF OTHERS LIGHTLY!!!
And now the question arises with great poignancy, “How could a man who had committed adultery and a treacherous act of social injustice be called, ‘a man after God’s own heart?’”
The answer is at hand, being expressed in one word of profound theological import – CONFESSION!
You see, the king was severely rebuked by the prophet Nathan for his double sin. In a most powerful parable the prophet dramatically described how a rich shepherd with thousands of flocks in his possession, nevertheless confiscated the single lamb of his very poor neighbour.
David was angry and immediately requested that the culprit be brought before him for judgement. Then the prophet dramatically turned upon the king declaring, “thou art that man!” (II Samuel 12)
You see, the situation was serious indeed. In ancient Israel the king was also the Chief Justice of the land. It was a land in covenant with the Lord and as such was expected to live in accord with the “Ten Commandments.”
It was therefore a time of crisis in Israel – the one charged with responsibility to maintain the law, whose sacred obligation was to see that justice was done in the sacral community had himself committed the serious of crimes. There was absolutely no way that he could “get away with such behaviour.” This is why the prophet’s rebuke was so severe. This why the king realized how serious his sin was.
What, then did David do when confronted by the prophet. Well, in an act of superb humility, he repented for his sins. In Psalm 51, one of the most moving prayers of confession to be found in the Bible, the king humbly and with a contrite heart confesses that he has sinned. And so he prayed that he should be forgiven by God.
Note very carefully that David did not engage in the blame game. He did not blame anyone else, he did not try to make excuses, rather he took full responsibility for what he had done and repented to God and sought His forgiveness.
There is a tremendous amount of “food for thought here” for generally speaking we like to blame others. This “blame game” goes back as far as our ancestral parents – Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Remember that when Adam and Eve had sinned by eating of the forbidden fruit, they made excuses and blamed others. So, eve blamed the serpents, the devil and Adam blamed eve, indeed indirectly suggesting that he had been tempted by Eve, the woman God gave him to be his companion (Genesis 3).
Far too many of us today are just like Adam and Eve. We engage in the “blame game” always seeking to blame others for what we have done. Yes, some blame their parents and their upbringing. Others blame the government. And so often there are those who simply blame the devil. So, a person who has committed the most heinous crime may tell others or, even a judge in the court of law “THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT!”
Not so King David! He was humble and contrite and he was sincere in taking the blame. He did not blame the devil or any other being. He blamed himself and took responsibility. Concisely, he declared, “THE BUCK STOPS HERE!”
The psalmist here ended his plea with confidence that God will forgive him for his sinfulness. Indeed he is assured that he will be forgiven. Thus, he concludes: “The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit: a broken spirit and a contrite heart, O God thou wilt not despise!”
This writer vividly recalls that this very verse was often quoted by his teacher of Religious Knowledge at the government high school back in the fifties!
One Mr. Scott often repeated it in teaching this subject in a manner which made an indelible impression upon your humble servant. It is an assurance, a blessed assurance that when we having sinned, humbly confess our sins to God, not seeking to blame others, but seeking His forgiveness, we shall be forgiven, be rescued from the guilt and power of sin because Christ His divine son died on the cross at Calvary to redeem us from the guilt and power of the sins we have committed.
This is precisely why, throughout this holy Lenten season…and beyond, our constant prayer must be:
Jesus keep me near the cross
There are precious fountains
Free to all, a healing stream
Flows from Calvary’s
In the cross, in the cross
Be my glory ever.
’Till my ransomed soul shall
find Rest beyond the river.
So my dear friend, when the next time you sin, do not engage again “in the blame game,” blaming others including the devil for what you have done. Rather confess your sons to God the merciful, like David, humbly seeking His forgiveness, confident that He will indeed forgive you once you turn to Him with a humble, contrite heart. Hallelujah!!!
LAMB OF GOD, WHO
TAKES AWAY THE SIN
OF THE WORLD,
HEAR MY PRAYER AS I
COME AGAIN BEFORE
CONFESSING MY SINS
WITH A CONTRITE
HEART, CONFIDENT AND
THANKFUL FOR your
RECONCILIATION TO YOU
AND TO THOSE I HAVE
WRONGED, RENEW ME
SO THAT I MAY SERVE
YOU MORE EFFECTIVELY
AND CHEERFULLY IN
THE WORLD TODAY
THROUGH CHRIST I PRAY.
Published Monday, March 27, 2017