When You Have Sinned (II Samuel 11 & Psalm 51)
He was smart. He was wise. He was a great leader and godly as they come. He was “a
man after God’s own heart” (I Samuel 13:14). The Lord loved him, and he loved the
Lord. One could say that there was no king who was the apple of God’s eye like him.
His name is David. In I Samuel 16, God directs Samuel regarding David, “Fill your
horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided
for myself a king among his sons . . . Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed
him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from
that day forward” (v. 1, 13). David would spend his years being faithful and obedient
to God, but all that came to an end when he fell into a scandal (II Samuel 11).
David’s sin with Bathsheba was heartbreaking to our Lord and to those around him.
He didn’t quite realize the pain he had caused until a friend of his convicted him of his
immoral actions (II Samuel 12). When David finally grasped the severity of his sin, he
quickly turned to God. We see his plea for restoration in Psalm 51. Like David, we all
fall short as God’s children. We are not perfect. We are not called to be perfect, but
faithful. Throughout this life we will make mistakes as Christians, but it is important
that we learn the proper steps to make it right with God after we have sinned. Psalm
51 presents the correct steps to restoring a broken heart. When we sin we must:
Take responsibility for our sin (v. 1 – 4)
It is necessary for every Christian who makes a mistake to own up to the fact that they
have sinned. In the first verse David said, “blot out my transgressions.” He
consistently uses personal pronouns in verses 1 – 4. He never blamed Bathsheba for
his sin, nor did he minimize his own. He took full responsibility for his actions.
As Christians, we need to do the same. Acknowledging our sin can be spiritually
healthy. When we fall short of God’s glory, admitting our faults can help us move
forward as God’s children. Denying or ignoring our sin can lead to guilt and shame.
We must cease from blaming our environment, society, friends, and family for why
we sin. We should have the heart of David and admit when we are guilty of it.
Ask for and receive God’s forgiveness (v. 1 – 4, 6 – 9)
Restoration and forgiveness go hand and hand. Without God’s forgiveness there can
be no restoration. Like David, we all need forgiveness from the Lord and restoration
when we have sinned. Notice David’s plea:
● “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity” (v. 2)
● “Cleanse me from my sin” (v. 2)
● “Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean” (v. 7)
● “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (v. 7)
● “Make me to hear joy and gladness, let the bones which You have broken rejoice” (v. 8)
David knew about God’s loving-kindness. He never questioned whether or not God
forgave him. He asked for and received God’s pardon. As Christians, we should never
doubt that God is unable to forgive us after we have done wrong. If God was able to
forgive David after he committed adultery and had Uriah killed, He is more than able
to forgive us when we fail Him.
Pray that God will cleanse and renew our heart (v. 10 – 12)
Every sin committed steals joy from the heart. David pleaded with God to cleanse him
and to restore the joy of salvation. We all need to be cleansed and revived after we
have sinned. Sin will rob us of our motivation to live for God, and this is why we need
God to cleanse and renew our hearts when we sin against Him.
David’s plea for restoration after he sinned is something that we should apply in our
lives. He took responsibility for his sin, he asked and received God’s forgiveness, and
he prayed for God to cleanse and renew his heart. When we fall short, let us not forget
to confess our sins because “He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).