Psalm 51:4 – Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight:”
When we sweep away all of the world’s detritus that clutters our hearts and emotions, we come to the realization that our sin is direct rebellion to God’s ownership of our lives. We like to lessen the blackness of our sin by confessing the surface missteps we have made. We call them mistakes or slip ups. We sound spiritual, but it is an illusion that has failed to touch our hearts.
David, however, went straight to the core of the problem when he prayed “against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight” (Psalm 51:4). He hadn’t just wronged Bathsheba through an illicit relationship. He hadn’t just made a bad military decision that caused Uriah’s death. He had broken his relationship with the God of creation. In misusing his power as king, he had placed himself above God’s plan for his life. He had ripped the wheel of control out of the Father’s hands and promptly driven into the ditch of destruction. He had failed to honor God’s Lordship of His life, claiming instead the throne for himself. He had repaid God’s love and provision with rebellion and greed.
We may not have committed the same sins as David, but our hearts are no different. We are in rebellion against God’s way for our lives. We pray “God, forgive me for talking about Jane” without acknowledging that we don’t love Jane as God commanded. We ask God to forgive our sins, without recognizing that our sins are fueled by the seed of rebellion which fights against God’s loving control of our lives. We are broken, and as with any disease, we must address the cause of this brokenness if we are to be healed.
I know that we are human and that perfection won’t happen until Christ returns, but I also know that it doesn’t do much good to spray air freshener in a house if meat is left rotting in the kitchen waste basket. The Holy Spirit convicts me to deal with the rottenness of rebellion, to look past the surface symptoms revealed in my actions to the core of my relationship with God.
Jesus forced Simon Peter to do this. It wasn’t by accident that He asked Peter three times “do you love Me” (John 21). Jesus knew that Peter’s failure on the night before the crucifixion wasn’t just a weakness of the flesh; it was a problem of the heart — of Lordship.
Sin is serious, and we must understand that it is a heart condition that is demonstrated in what we do. We can’t just stop doing something and think, I’m good now. Like David we must ask God for a new heart (Psalm 51:10). God works on us from the inside out.
The good news is grace. There is life and purpose after failure, and God wants us even though we have rebelled against Him. David seeks forgiveness in Psalm 51, but his prayer also includes restoration (v. 12) and a plan for service (v. 13-15).
If I could speak grace to a broken soul today, I would say “it is not too late”; God specializes in rebuilding the broken. God loves you, and He wants you. He will fulfill His plan in your life. Follow David’s example and turn to Him.
Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51: 12 – 15 – Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto Thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness. O Lord, open Thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise.
Photo – Reminder of the Cross, Beth Mims
Modified from an earlier post.