Ahh, iniquity ∙
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, regarding the time Nathan the prophet came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.
2 Wash me clean from my iniquity. Purify me from my sin.
3 For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.
4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.
Spring is that time of the year when those with the ability to do so go outside and “work the land.” It may be simple yard work and clean-up, 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. It all catches up to us at the end of a hard day’s work. We feel a bit grimy and in need of a thorough cleanup.
But what happens when the dirt’s not on the outside but 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 In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war . . .. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.
2 Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and walked on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath.
David’s sin began because he chose to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Rather than leading the army into battle, he took 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).
David burned with lust for her. The temptation was too great to resist. He called for her, and she came to the palace. You know the rest of 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, hoping 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” that 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. 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 private, unseen, unknown, and would never be revealed. But he failed to remember something critical. The Father knew everything, even the thoughts of his innermost heart. The Father knew 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 David’s evil (2 Samuel 11:27).
If the Father God were a mere man, He would have thought, “Anybody but David, not David, a man after My own heart.” You see, until that time, David had done no wrong in the sight of the Father. His record was spotless. One sinful act changes the trajectory of David’s life forever.
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.
Psalms 51:2 Wash me clean from my iniquity. Purify me from my sin.
The word translated as iniquity is avon in Hebrew. Avon comes from a word that means to twist or bend. It then took on the sense of something wrong, wrong in and of itself. It was the kind of wrong that people generally recognized as violating their sense of right and wrong.
Remarkably, in the 21st century, where there is a seeming near-total lack of moral restraint, people still recognize that some acts are wrong in and of themselves. Harming an innocent child would fall into this category. It Is 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. This involved confrontation, recognition, confession, forgiveness, and cleansing for David.
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 of sheep of his own. But he took a lamb from a man who had very 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 12:14).
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.
© Dr. H 2022