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David’s Sin: Psalm 51

For three thousand years people have come to this sacred spot and have been strangely moved by the tragic picture they see. They have listened while sobs of confession shake his body and hot tears burn his face and fears of eternal separation from God chill him to the bone. They find “David, a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22), lonely, afraid, guilty, depressed, and in despair. He has committed sins that forever put him beyond the remedy of the law. Though he is a powerful king of a great nation with wealth, servants, soldiers, and mighty men to do his bidding, he is seen as a helpless sinner. He has multitudes of bulls, goats, lambs and doves at his disposal, yet he finds that all of these sacrificed together will not cleanse him or make him fit for his Master’s presence.

Listen to him, “O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger, nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; but You, O Lord—how long?... I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away because of grief (Psalm 6:1-3,6).

Before our eyes we see this wretch of a king, burdened down by guilt, and beaten down by sorrows, go about the business of getting his soul washed, cleansed, and created anew. Before our eyes he becomes a new creation, singing a new song, and witnessing about the manifold mercy of God.

Let’s look reverently as we catch his secret and understand the true way to cleansing and restoration and power with God.

Here is a great king, princes bow before him. To take another’s wife may have been the common practice for the kings of his day, but for the anointed and appointed of God it was absolutely forbidden! (A good reminder for Pastors). He takes Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. Before this story ends murder is added to the list of sins against David, Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah is executed at David’s command.

For almost a year David suffers the lash of a guilty conscience while trying to make everyone around him think everything was all right. I’m certain David must have tried to put on the right face and act as if nothing was wrong.

Enter Nathan, the fearless Prophet of God (2 Samuel 12:1-15) with a story to trap the king in his own sin.

“So the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. 4 One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.” David was furious. “As surely as the Lord lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! 6 He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man!” (David is caught in his sin!)

Now to Psalm 51:

How did he handle his sin?

He does not just determine to improve. He didn’t call for a priest to confess. He didn’t deny his guilt. He did not gather up burnt offerings to offer God. Only God can help him! "Against You, You only have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight..." (Psalm 51:4]). He has committed an unholy act against God, his own body (1 Corinthians 6:18), Bathsheba, and Uriah’s family (1 Thessalonians 4:1-7).

He cries out for forgiveness. (Psalm 51:1,2). It is incredible that the same man that could write, "The Lord is My Shepherd," and countless other Psalms of praise could be saying this!

He makes a sincere confession. (Verses 3-6).

He doesn’t blame the times in which he was living; the position he holds…"Every king does this." He doesn't blame his ancestry, or his present psychological condition. He doesn’t even blame Bathsheba...Nathan has said, “You are the man”. Now he is saying: “I am the man.”

He asks for full cleansing. “Whiter than snow” (Verses 7-9). He not only wants to feel God’s presence again, he wants to be restored to the same spiritual position as before. He wants the same song back in his heart again. The bird with the broken wing never soared so high again. Sin had taken the music out of soul. When we sin we lose the joy bells of God. Memories: If we could only erase the memories.

He prays for a new heart and a new life. (Verses 10-12).

Oh, the destructive power of sin! To need a new act of creation upon the heart.

Adrian Rogers (1931-2005) Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis, TN. “Love worth Finding.” I heard him give this outline about sin at a Bible Conference:

•Sin dirties the soul.

•Sin dominates the mind.

•Sin disgraces God.

•Sin depresses the heart.

•Sin diseases the body.

•Sin defiles the spirit.

•Sin destroys the testimony.

The old man is helpless, the whole man has been affected by the poison of sin. The whole man must share the remedy, in mind, in will, and in conscience. He can only be right with God by a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation, old things are passed away, behold all things have become new."

He is experiencing the depths of Godly sorrow, “Cast me not away from Your presence…” “Don’t leave me, God!”

He lost his joy, his fellowship with God, his assurance, the music in his soul, he is miserable, his life is empty! It is hell for the believer who sins against a holy God! Verse 12, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation…”

And God restores him. End of story, right? He is completely forgiven, right? God forgets the sin (Isaiah 43:25). He hides them behind His back (Isaiah 38:17). He removes them as far as east is from west (Psalm 103:12), and casts them into the deepest sea (Micah 7:19). He is restored to full fellowship with God. End of story, right? Is that all there is to it?

When we as believers defy the holiness of God we not only sin against God but against our own bodies as well, and against others whom we involve in our sin. (1 Corinthians 6:18, 1 Thessalonians 4).

We are holy unto the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Peter 2:9)

Things that are holy are things set apart, separated from the rest. They have been separated from the commonplace, consecrated for the Lord and His service. Only God can sanctify something. Only God can give the touch that can change things and people from the commonplace to someone set apart, different, special.

When things are made holy by God, they are set apart for purity. They are to be used in a pure way. They are to reflect purity. Purity is contained in the word holy!

1 Corinthians 3:16,17, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles (dirties) the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”

God says, ”Be holy as I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). The Bible calls us “holy ones.” We are holy because we have been separated to God. We have been set apart. We have been called to a life that is different. Paul writes, in Romans 12:1: “I urge you, my brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–This is your spiritual act of worship.”

God confronted David. David confessed his sin. God forgave him completely and restored his joy and song. David’s life was completely changed after that he became a witness for God. He had taught people to sin now he will now set about to reverse his influence. How would you like this on your tombstone, “Jeroboam had provoked the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, by the sins he had committed and the sins he had led Israel to commit” ( 1 Kings 15:30).

Now, lest you get the idea that you can just sin and go ask for forgiveness and that’s the end of it...let me remind you that God will not allow His holiness in His children to be corrupted… “Whatsoever we sow we reap” (Galatians 6:7).

David restored 4-fold.

God took the child born of David and Bathsheba. Tamar, David's daughter was raped by her half brother, Amnon. Absolom was a traitor, he raped David's wives, stole the hearts of the people, attempted to wrest the kingdom from his father. Finally, Absolom was killed by Joab. Now listen to this high and mighty, powerful king as he faces the consequences of his sin. “The king was overcome with emotion. He went up to the room over the gateway and burst into tears. And as he went, he cried, “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son” (2 Samuel 18:33 NLT).

What happens when a believer sins?

•Sin brings immediate conviction from God.

•Sin grieves the heart of God and the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).

•Sin brings loving correction and discipline from a loving Father (Hebrews 12:6).

•Sin makes us unhappy. No one is more miserable than a backslidden Christian.

•Sin decreases our effectiveness with the world.

•Sin damages the lives of those closest to us.

•Sin brings loss of rewards in heaven.

There is always a consequence of sin, even if we have confessed and forsaken it.

“But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Galatians 6:7,8).

“It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore” (Isaiah 59:2).

The alcoholic who repents and accepts Christ is forgiven, on his way to heaven, but he may still suffer illness from abusing his body for many years. The adulterer who had unprotected sex is still responsible for the children he fathered through his sin, and any disease he may have contracted through his adultery. I conducted the funeral for a young man who was a believer, even went to Bible College, he died from complications from Aids. I visited him in the hospital, he was repentant, forgiven, but he still suffered from his sin.

Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was uses, also the New Living Translation (NLT). The Amplified Bible (AMB).

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