The life of King David is recorded in some detail in scripture. His strengths and weaknesses are laid bare for us to see. The overall sense that we gain from his life is that he was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). This tells us a great deal about how God looks upon each one of His people: “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
None of us can say we are better than David. Yes, David committed some horrific sins – lust, adultery, murder, to name some major ones. But sin is sin and you and I are sinners. Prior to baptism God made us aware of that fact and in that condition, the reality was that we had the death penalty hanging over us. David was forcibly confronted by his sinful condition – just as we were when God called us and the Holy Spirit began to give us spiritual understanding.
After Uriah was murdered, through David’s plotting to cover up his sin of adultery with Uriah’s wife, David took Bathsheba to be his wife. However, God was displeased with this turn of events (2 Samuel 11:27). The prophet Nathan was dispatched to deliver a message to David. Nathan’s story was a heart rending tale of a rich man taking a much-loved lamb from a poor man in order to provide food for a traveler. This story kindled David’s anger in condemnation of the rich man. Nathan looked David in the eye and said, “You are the rich man!” He then spelled out David’s sins and God’s condemnation of them as a consequence.
David’s response is both instructive and encouraging. He immediately took ownership of his sins. “… I have sinned against the Lord …” (2 Samuel 12:13). He did not try to find a way to justify what he had done. He was wrong and he faced it head on. Psalm 51 captures the depth of David’s state of heart/mind: “Have mercy on me, O God … Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions …”. Read the entirety of Psalm 51 for the full impact. David and Bathsheba’s first child died, as there were still consequences for sin. What is so encouraging to us is the response from God to David’s heartfelt repentant attitude. God heard David’s repentance and forgave him. “…The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die” (2 Samuel 12:13).
Many members carry around a load of guilt from the sins we have committed, even since baptism. However, we need to look at God’s attitude as expressed toward David and take heart. God is a God of forgiveness and He has the ability to remove our sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).
David was also able to capture this in a Psalm. “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit” (Psalm 32:1,2). If we are not deceitful with ourselves and openly admit the sin, as David did, God is faithful to forgive and forget. Read Psalm 51 and then follow up with Psalm 32. Let go of the guilt and move into a deeper relationship with your Father who desires forgiveness. “… But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous …” (Psalm 32:10,11).