Having you been hiding a particular “big” sin or maybe a foolish “little” sin…not wanting to deal with it or even admit to it? Several months have passed; the guilt is beginning to fade…Then there is a knock at the door and your friend and spiritual mentor is standing at the door saying, ”We need to talk.”
This is the setting for Psalm 51.
For the choir director. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
King David decided not to lead his army in battle but stay in Jerusalem. One day, as evening came, David got out of bed to walk around the roof of his palace. He saw a beautiful woman bathing…he inquired about her…he sent men to take her and bring her to him. Then, discovering the woman was with child and her husband was away serving in the army, David began to plan how to cover up his sin. Plan A – bring the husband home. But he would not sleep in the comfort of his home, when his troops were still at battle. Plan B – send a letter with the husband for the army commander.
“Place Uriah in the front line of the fiercest battle and withdraw from him, so that he may be struck down and die.” (2 Samuel 11:15)
Plan B complete. The husband was now out of the way, David was free to marry the woman. He thought all was well; his sin dealt with and no one would know…until the Lord sent Nathan to speak to him.
Nathan told David a compelling analogy, and the very public consequences of his private sinful actions. Only then did David confess and pray for God’s grace. This psalm seems to come out of that time of mourning and petition to God. (Full story in 2 Samuel chapters 11 and 12.)
David, a man after God’s own heart, (1 Sam 13:14, Acts 13:22) was blind to his sin or just in denial of it. It took being confronted for him to see the truth and repent.
What about you…has God placed a “Nathan” in your life? Are you listening? Are you willing to confess and repent? Or are you still denying your sin or trying to shift blame to another?
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof
Will dwell among the wise.
He who neglects discipline despises himself,
But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.