How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. – Psalms 19:12
1 A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone into Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight . . .
Spring is that time of the year when those of us with the ability to do so go outside and “work the land.” It may be simple yardwork and clean up, may be planting new shrubs or grass or even a garden. Family farmers begin to plow the ground and prepare it for planting. All of this hard work leaves us dirty, sweaty, and a bit worn out. At the end of a hard day’s work, it all catches up to us. We feel a bit grimy and in need of a thorough cleanup.
But what happens when the dirt’s not on the outside but on the inside? How do you get that cleaned up? Our heavenly Father shows us the way through one of the most well-known characters in the Scriptures, David.
2 Samuel 11:1-2
1 Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle . . .
2 Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance.
David’s sin began when he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Rather than leading the army into battle, he was taking it easy in Jerusalem. It was undoubtedly a beautiful spring afternoon and he was walking on the roof of the palace. Then something totally unexpected happened. He saw beautiful Bathsheba bathing herself on her rooftop (2 Samuel 11:2).
He burned with lust for her. The temptation was too great for him to resist. He called for her and she came to the palace. You know the rest the story. They committed adultery. And she became pregnant. David’s only thought was to protect himself and avoid detection. He had her husband Uriah return from war, in hopes that he would spend intimate time with his wife. David’s sin would be covered up, as everyone would think the child’s father was Uriah. David thought to himself that is a “little sin” which could easily be covered up. And then forgotten.
But David failed to count on the noble character and integrity of Uriah.
2 Samuel 11:8-11
8 Then he told Uriah, “Go on home and relax.” David even sent a gift to Uriah after he had left the palace.
9 But Uriah didn’t go home. He slept that night at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard.
10 When David heard that Uriah had not gone home, he summoned him and asked, “What’s the matter? Why didn’t you go home last night after being away for so long?”
11 Uriah replied, “The Ark and the armies of Israel and Judah are living in tents, and Joab and my master’s men are camping in the open fields. How could I go home to wine and dine and sleep with my wife? I swear that I would never do such a thing.”
David had a few more tricks up his sleeve, but nothing worked. Bathsheba was still pregnant, and Uriah was sent back to war. From here, things go from bad to worse. Coverups never seem to work out too well as we know in our day and age.
David had the audacity to have Uriah hand-carry a letter to Joab the commander of the army of Israel. The letter was Uriah’s death warrant (2 Samuel 11:14-17). Thus David became responsible for the death of Uriah. He was now not merely an adulterer, if that were not bad enough, but also a murderer. In his twisted thinking, David thought that with her husband out of the way, David could marry Bathsheba and then she could have his baby without incident. Apparently, David forgot that people could count. The baby was born less than nine months after the marriage.
REFLECT & PRAY
The Father’s intention is not punishment, but loving discipline. He has no desire to get even. When He disciplines us, it hurts. But when we respond correctly, His loving discipline yields a refreshing, cleansing, and a sense of well-being. The Father’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in His holiness (Hebrews 12:10).
Father, I am done hiding my sin! I no longer want to rationalize it or try to cover it up. Please gently reveal to me the error of my ways that I may see and confess. I know You will always forgive me and cleanse me, thank You!
David thought his sin was in private, unseen, unknown, and it would never to be revealed. But he also forgot something far more important. The Father knew everything, even the thoughts of his innermost heart. The Father knew all to well David’s lust and desire, and his failure to resist temptation. In fact, the Father was a witness to the adultery and the murder of Uriah. The Father was grieved and displeased with the evil David had done (2 Samuel 11:27).
If the Father God were a merely man, He would have thought, “Anybody but David, not David a man after My own heart.” You see up until that time David had done no wrong in the sight of the Father. His record was spotless.
1 Kings 15:5 David had done what was pleasing in the LORD’s sight and had obeyed the LORD’s commands throughout his life, except in the affair concerning Uriah the Hittite.
But indeed, the Father knows everything all the time. What David thought was private and hidden wound up being front page news for over 3000 years. It is part of the eternal Word of God and will be known forever.
The word translated iniquity is avon in Hebrew. Avon comes from a word that means to twist or bend. It then took on the sense of something that was wrong, wrong in and of itself. It was the kind of wrong that people generally recognized as violating their sense of right and wrong.
Even in the 21st century, where there is a seeming near total lack moral restraint, people still recognize that some acts are in wrong in and of themselves. Harming an innocent child would fall into this category and be considered iniquity.
David was guilty of such a sin. He was dirty. Although he attempted to ignore it, there was a little voice inside, the voice of his conscience accusing him.
How do we deal with iniquity? How do we get clean? We must recognize the error of our ways, confess, and allow the Father to forgive and cleanse us. For David, this involved confrontation, recognition, confession, forgiveness and cleansing.
Because of His grace and love, and His desire to restore David to the joy of fellowship with Him, He sent one of His servants, Nathan the prophet, to confront David and expose the evil he had done.
2 Samuel 12:1-12
1 Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. . .
7 Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel
9 ‘Why have you despised the word of the LORD by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him . . .
12 ‘Indeed you did it secretly . . .
Nathan told David a story about a man who committed iniquity. The man had plenty but took from a man who had little and used it for his own purposes. David was livid!
David shouted, “As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die” (2 Samuel 112:14).
Nathan then said to David, “You are the man” (2 Samuel 12:7)!
Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die (2 Samuel 12:13).
10 God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.
11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening– it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.