Monday, August 19, 2019

David's Psalm of Penitence

"For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me" (Psalm 51:3).

When we left our study of the life of David, he had committed adultery with the wife of Uriah the Hittite, a Gentile convert serving in his army. To cover up his sin, David saw to it that Uriah was killed. Sometime later, the prophet Nathan confronted David, who then poured out his heart in a prayer of repentance, recorded for all of God’s people to use—Psalm 51.

As we wrap up our consideration of human sinfulness and get back into the history of David, let us reflect on what David said in verse 3 of the psalm: “my sin is always before me.” One of the things we notice about ourselves as Christians is that our sins come back to haunt us. If only we could forget some of the deeds we have done.

Perhaps it was impossible for David to walk on top of his palace without being reminded that it was there that he took Bathsheba. We wonder if it was ever possible for him to sip a cup of wine without recalling how he got Uriah drunk and tried to persuade him to go home to his wife. How could he ever write another military order without remembering how he ordered Uriah to be placed in the front lines and thereby lose his life?

Sometimes we feel it would be a blessing if only we could forget whatever it was we did. If only we could get away from it. If only we would not keep being reminded of it. Yet, perhaps it should cause us to rejoice if we cannot forget our sin. It is possible for a person to become so callous and hardened that he no longer cares what he has done, but that should not be true of the child of God.

We know that one of the activities of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of sin. God is not willing that His children be involved in sin and not become aware of it, and so, gently and lovingly, yet firmly, God calls His people to an awareness of their sins. The Holy Spirit works to remind us of the evil we have committed, even after we have been cleansed from it through repentance. Such reminders are not designed to keep us in perpetual gloom but are intended to keep us humble, lest we fall again.

When we are reminded of our sin, our natural tendency is to become bitter against ourselves and feel defeated. What we are supposed to do, however, is talk to God about it. Are you feeling defeated and depressed today? Stop nursing that depression and start talking to the Lord about the matter.