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In Psalm 51, we see the response of David to what is likely the most notorious sin he ever committed. Not only did he commit adultery with Bathsheba, but he also ensured the death of her husband in war. It’s hard to believe that these are the actions of someone who is described as “a man after God’s own heart.”
Verse 4 gives us a fascinating glimpse into the heart of David. He could have talked about how he failed his family, or how he disrespected Bathsheba’s family. He could have also talked about how he sinned against Israel and failed them as their king. Instead of suggesting his sin was against different people, he recognizes that at the core, his sin is against God – and God alone.
When we see the impact our actions have in the lives of others in the physical world, it is only a glimpse of what is really going on in the spiritual world. Our sin is a failure to faithfully represent the image of God that is in us – we fail and betray him when we sin.
David’s foundational desire is to have his relationship with God healed (vv 10-12). He recognizes that everything else in life flows from this point. Too many people seek God’s forgiveness as a way to escape the consequences of their sin. David teaches us that the motivation for seeking forgiveness is simply to know that we still have the joy of a close and restored relationship with God.
God is not looking for you to work harder to prove that you won’t make the same mistake twice; He is looking for you to be broken and humbled before him. In that place of brokenness and humility is where you will encounter the acceptance and forgiveness of God, and where his Spirit can begin the work of renewing you to be the person you are created to be.
Dear Father God, You are a God of faithful love and abundant compassion. Show me the ways I have sinned against you (pause here and wait to see what God shows you). . . My sin is against you – and you alone! Clean my heart – renew my spirit to be disciplined when temptation comes. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.