In today's fourth installment we will look at David's response to the exposure of his sin. In this and the previous post we really get to see what made Saul and David so different and perhaps where the dividing line lay between the king rejected by God and the king that was known as a man after God's own heart . . . read on . . .
And the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, "There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him." Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity."
Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.' Thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.' (2 Samuel 12:1-12)
David’s Response (2 Samuel 12, Psalm 51)
David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." (2 Samuel 12:13)
Rather than follow Saul's path of lying, blaming, and justifying - David immediately confesses. God doesn't categorise us into sinners and righteous, but rather those who confess and forsake their sin, and those who don't. Which one are you?
“He that covers his sins shall not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:1-17)
David put his repentance on display in the 51st Psalm. Here is where David differs markedly from Saul.
Question: How many times does David attempt to justify any of his actions in this Psalm?
Question: How many people does David blame for his predicament in this Psalm? Who?
Question: Does David seem concerned about his public reputation?
Question: Is David more concerned about losing the throne or losing the Holy Spirit?
I could speculate that if Saul had written the 51st Psalm he would have said things like "create in me an even greater reputation" and "cast me not away from my throne O Lord" and "please don't take from me the royal car with the flag on top".
3.Acceptance of living with the consequences.
Though God pardoned him, David still suffered the consequences of his actions and none of them were pretty. Repentance doesn't get us off scot free, we will usually reap what we have sown, but it is an open door to right standing with God and David knew that was the one thing he couldn't live without. Covering sin only delays the consequences. Nothing remains hidden forever. But better to live with the consequences of our earthly actions, with a repentant heart and a clear conscience, than to dive headlong into the unquenchable flames of hell.
Go On To Part 5
Go Back To Part 3
Go Back To Part 1
A La Carte (October 13)
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