My husband and I finished reading the book of 2 Samuel this morning. Growing up I loved the stories of King David:
- the young man who killed the giant Goliath with a sling and a stone
- the shepherd boy writing beautiful Psalms
- the mighty warrior king
- the man who wanted to build a temple for God
One of the best known stories is his great sin when he coveted the wife of another man. Psalm 51 is believed to have been the psalm he wrote after repenting of his terrible sins.
Have mercy on me, 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 you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
Reading this I cannot help but think of al the people David sinned against.
- Bathsheba who he seduced into betraying her husband
- Her husband, Uriah, whose wife he stole and then had killed
- His own family for who he set such a bad example
- His military commander, Joab, who was forced into a compromising position in having Uriah killed
Yet David said he had sinned against God and God only.
Understanding how David must have felt when the full sense of what he had done hit him helps explain this I believe. David had from his youth depended on God and reading the Psalms he wrote you can see the love he had for God. When he fully realized how he had betrayed, not only Uriah and Bathsheba, but the very basis of his faith, he was devastated.
So when David says, “Against you and you only have I sinned,” I don’t think he means, “I didn’t wrong Uriah by killing him, and I didn’t wrong Bathsheba by raping her, and I didn’t wrong the baby by being the cause of its death.” He meant, “The horrible thing here, ultimately, is that I rebelled against God. I rejected God as my treasure. I scorned the word of God.” This is what Nathan said to him when he came and pointed the finger at him: “Why have you despised the word of God?” That’s what Nathan said. Nathan didn’t say, “Why have you killed a man, and why have you raped a woman?” He said, “Why have you despised the word of God?”
So David knows from the prophet that the worst thing that has happened here is that he has despised God. And so I think that’s what he means. He is simply drawing attention, not to the minimization of rape and murder, but to the maximization of the assault on God that happened in those acts.
They are not less horrible because he says this: they are more horrible because he says this….John Piper
When Joseph was tempted by Potiphar’s wife he resisted her by saying.
“My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”
Of course such a sin would have been against Potiphar but Joseph placed his greater loyalty to God and God’s laws. It was God he did not want to offend.
So, I ask myself – When I offend someone, when I harm someone, when I sin against someone, how do I sorry for that?
Do I just apologize to that person and move on? Do I think that takes care of everything? Or, do I realize that my sin is also rejecting the word of God? Do I realize how I have counted my desire to “do my own thing” more important than my desire to remain true to my faith, my God?
Lord, help me to value my relationship with you and my loyalty to your Word that I will not regard my sins so ightly, but reconize my sins are against You and repent accordingly.