David Is Us
It had been approximately a year since David’s affair with Bathsheba and his plot for the death of Uriah. All has not been well with David. Psalm 32 tells us how he is feeling. The sin, guilt, and shame are eating him up. He can’t eat. He can’t sleep, and he feels like his bones are melting. He is an internal mess.
Oh, David is carrying on. He is still doing all the right things outwardly. He still offers the sacrifices. Today, we would say he is "still going to church". But he knows he is not right with God. He is trying to hide it. With Uriah out of the way, Bathsheba’s pregnancy does not look so incriminating. Uriah dies in battle, but men die in battle. So, what is there to suspect? He does a good job covering up his sins until God sends Nathan. After David misses the point of the nice little parable Nathan tells, Nathan just gets to the point with David. “David, you are the man.” The ruse is up. Now what will David do? Enter Psalm 51.
David comes clean. Really clean. He asks the Lord to wash him thoroughly and cleanse him. The word cleanse means to launder. It has the imagery of pummeling, much like the way clothes used to be wash on an old washboard. The washer would pummel the garment against the washboard. David asks God to pummel him clean. He pleads to be made pure with hyssop. Hyssop was a plant that is rather stiff and good for scrubbing. Today, we might say, “God, get a scrub brush, a stiff one, and scrub me clean with lye soap.” David asks to be pummeled clean and scrubbed whiter than snow. David comes to ask God to make him clean.
Further, Paul said, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit.” David has done just that. He begs God not to take away the Holy Spirit. He begs God to uphold him with His generous spirit. It is only God’s mercy, loving-kindness, and multitude of mercies that will forgive David. It is obvious David has come with a contrite heart. He demonstrates once again that he is a man after God’s own heart.
This has been a long, hard journey for David. By the tenor of what he says in Psalm 51, does David ever really get over what he had done? He is reminded, almost daily, by the disaster among his own children. David knows others have been affected by what he has done, and he pleads for God to do good to them.
I would suggest David is us. Oh, maybe it is not the exact sin David committed. But David shows us the feeling of guilt he has and how it affects him. We feel that. David also shows us the mercy of God. It is only by God’s generous spirit that David can ever stand before Him. David also shows us that, when sin really touches us, we must come with a contrite heart. No pretense. No excuse. Just a contrite heart. David also shows us there is life after sin. Others may not get over it, but David tries to move forward.
The sin in the lives of David’s children is not altogether on David. They are grown and make their own choices. They cannot blame David. They don’t have to be that way. They can learn from his mistakes, and they stand responsible for their rebellion, transgression, iniquity, and sins. They can also choose to do what David did and be contrite and return to God.
David is us, but only if we do what David did to return to God.