“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse 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. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.”
From this passage Saint Augustine derived much of his theology regarding “original sin” and mankind’s general proclivity toward sin. It’s somehow refreshing to know that a hero like King David was no better than me when it came to his spiritual predicament! But what sets David apartment from most folks is how quickly and humbly he acknowledged his responsibility and accountability for his sins and his predicament with God when it was brought to his attention.
He did not blame God, or his parents, or his education, or his lack of opportunity, or the devil or his DNA make up for what he did to Baathsheba or Urriah. He asked for mercy (and received it); he asked to be restored and made “clean” (and he was). He does not ask for the “desires” of his appetites, but rather that God give him a new and pure heart—-and such is the kind of petition that our heavenly Father is quite ready and pleased to grant.
“I was conceived in sin”, is how David describes his lineage and heritage! He didn’t brag about his family tree or pedigree, but admitted that he had come from a family of sinners! In effect, he was saying that he was acting just like his mom and dad—please have mercy on my entire family!
But most profoundly, in my opinion, he admits, “against you only have I sinned”.
It was sin against God not because it was a matter of making a mistake or doing a wrong thing, but rather because it was an ASSAULT, an AFFRONTERY, an INSULT to God Himself. THE HORROR THAT DAVID REALIZED IS THAT HE HAD REBELLED AGAINST GOD AND DESPISED THE WORD OF GOD!!! It was not about killing Urriah or raping Baathsheba, but the MORE SEVERE matter of missing God’s intention in life!
David understood clearly how bad he was, and that the offense was first an offense against a Holy God: “Against, you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight…” Repentance is produced by “godly grief”
Every sin strikes at the honor of God, the being of God, the glory of God, the heart of Christ, the joy of the Spirit, and the peace of a man’s conscience.
Godly sorrow means that just like David I am truly sorry for my sin against God. It is not that I am first concerned with the trouble that the sin has brought to the me, but the pain that it has brought to the heart of my loving Savior. Psalm 51:17: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart…..”
I’ve learned that there’s a difference between feeling ashamed or even disgusted with myself over something I said or did and entering into true repentance. We can feel guilty because we know that what we have watched, listened to, or done was wrong, but it doesn’t mean we have truly repented and that we are sorry for our sins because we sinned against God’s great holiness.
May I choose to turn away from sin and be filled with that for which I was created.