“Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the
Lord.’ Nathan replied, ‘The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to
die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter
contempt, the son born to you will die’” (2 Samuel 12:13-14).
The complete story is in 2 Samuel chapters 11 and 12.
David’s sins were awful. He violated the clear commands of
God “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife,” “You shall not murder,” “You
shall not commit adultery.”
David, in order to hide his adultery, had Uriah called home
from the front in order to attribute Bathsheba’s pregnancy to him. David was
concocting a lie that did not work. David sent him to his home and sent him a
gift. Uriah did not go home. The next day David gave a dinner for Uriah and
made Uriah drunk. He did not go home. So David had him killed and then took his
David did not confess. He was still hiding his sins (or
thought he was.) He was then confronted by Nathan the prophet. Before David
confessed, Nathan prophesied awful consequences. After he confessed another
consequence was prophesied. David did repent of his sins. David was forgiven. The
consequences did happen. The baby son died. One of his other sons raped one of
his daughters. Another son killed the son who raped the daughter. That son was
then exiled. He was returned from exile, conspired against his father, the
king, and openly committed adultery with his fathers concubines. That son was
then killed. How do we know that David was forgiven? “Then I acknowledged my
sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my
transgressions to the Lord’—and you forgave the guilt of my sin’” (Psalm 32:5).
“Have mercy on my, O God, according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my
iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin
is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil
in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when
you judge…. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be
whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed
rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me
a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me
from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of
your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me…. Save me from
bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your
righteousness…. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do
not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken
spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O god, you will not despise” (Psalm
51:1-4, 7-12, 14, 16-17).
David did not minimize his sins. He realized his sins were
against God only. David counted on the greatness of God’s mercy, love and
compassion. He knew he would not be forgiven by ritual repentance.
David had the joy of forgiven sins but still had to face the
results of his sins.
Written in 1999.
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