Yesterday we saw how Amnon’s “love” obsession with Tamar, his half-sister, quickly “turned to hate” (II Samuel 13:15b, NLT) after he had raped her. Previously I’d pointed out that Amnon wasn’t the only one in the family who may have committed such an atrocity. Although the Bible doesn’t give us the details, Bathsheba was very likely an unwilling participant when David had her brought to his bedroom.
While we see Amnon’s immediate response to his sorry actions, we aren’t told how David felt after having his way with Bathsheba. Or do we? Bible scholars can’t pinpoint the exact time when David wrote Psalms 32, 38 and 51, but most agree that he wrote them after his illicit one-night stand with Bathsheba. Let’s read a little of what David was feeling:
“Your arrows have struck deep, and Your blows are crushing me. Because of Your anger, my whole body is sick; my health is broken because of my sins. My guilt overwhelms me – it is a burden too heavy to bear. I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart” (Psalm 38:2-4, 8).
As a person on whom the Holy Spirit rested, David was in agony because of the guilt of his sin. Ever been there? I sure have. As a Holy Spirit-filled New Testament believer, I’ve been convicted so many times of things I’ve done and things I’ve failed to do or refused to do. And until I ‘fess it and fix it, the guilt absolutely eats me alive.
And I wouldn’t be one hundred percent honest if I didn’t also say I’ve done things I couldn’t fix or undo. That’s where David was. All he could do was plead for the mercy of God:
“Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against You, and You alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in Your sight. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:2-4a, 7).
God heard and answered David’s prayer. David wrote out his open confession to not only warn others about the pain of sin, but to tell them of the incredible forgiveness of our Heavenly Father:
“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night Your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to You and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, ‘I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.’ And You forgave me! All my guilt is gone” (Psalm 32:1-5).
“All my guilt is gone.” Not a little of it. Not a lot of it. All of it. David received the amazing unconditional forgiveness of God.
Still, God’s pardon of David didn’t halt the things his sin had set in motion.
“If I had a brother who had been murdered, what would you think of me if I...daily consorted with the assassin who drove the dagger into my brother’s heart; surely I too must be an accomplice in the crime. Sin murdered Christ; will you be a friend to it?” (Charles Spurgeon)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates