Previously (You are the man! Part 1), I wrote about the startling way God used Nathan to confront David regarding his sin. It was startling because although David's list of sinful behavior is long and confronting, God had distilled it down to one core, root problem: David had scorned God.
I finished the previous post by saying: This leaves me with a second question. How is it that God would continue to describe David as a 'man after God's heart'?
Acts 13:21–22 (ESV) — 21 Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’
In an attempt to resolve this, it is vital we turn now to David's response to the exposure of his sin. Here is what we can learn about repentance from David as he pours out his heart to the Lord as recorded for us in Psalm 51.
David throws himself on the mercy of God and His ability to forgive sin
Psalm 51:1–2 (ESV) — 1 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!
David is aware of his own sinful actions
Psalm 51:3 (ESV) — 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
David knows the root of his problem is rebellion against God Himself
Psalm 51:4 (ESV) — 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
David admits his natural state of sin
Psalm 51:5 (ESV) — 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
David recognizes what God desires of him
Psalm 51:6 (ESV) — 6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
David recognizes that God is his only hope for new life and a future
Psalm 51:7–12 (ESV) — 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
This is the staggering good news of the Gospel.
Because sin is a 'heart issue', salvation is also a 'heart issue'. While sinful behavior has natural consequences, a heart that scorns God can only be cured as it breaks before Him in repentance.
No amount of moral rehabilitation can earn your ticket to heaven.
Making a moral sacrifice will never be enough.
This is how David says it:
Psalm 51:16–17 (ESV) — 16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
What glorious and amazing news. God does not despise a broken and contrite heart.
It was good news for David.
It is spectacular news for us!
In Paul's declaration of this magnificent news, he calls to us through his letter to the Romans.
Romans 5:1–11 (ESV) - 1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
To the praise of His glory!