Psalm 51:4a – Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight. (NKJV)
King David sinned with Bathsheba. The Bible story tells us that King David saw Bathsheba bathing, and he wanted her. So he summoned her and slept with her. When she became pregnant, he tried to cover things up. When that failed, he arranged to have her husband killed in battle.
I've always wondered about Bathsheba's role. The Bible doesn't tell us if she deliberately enticed David. Did she time and position her bath so that David would see her? Did she bathe in a provocative way? When David summoned her, was she flirtatious? Was she a schemer, wanting the power of the throne? Did she have any part in timing things so that she would get pregnant? Or was she an innocent victim at the mercy of a mighty king? Did she grieve for her dead husband?
If we knew the answers to these questions, would it change the story for us? Would it excuse David's sin, making it not so bad? When David repented, he blamed no one. He made no excuses. He never blamed Bathsheba or his own weakness. He never claimed to have had too much wine. He didn't blame God for making him a virile man. He didn't blame his upbringing or childhood deficits. He didn't say, "The devil made me do it." He said, simply, "Against You, You only, have I sinned." Does this mean that David did not sin against Bathsheba and her husband? I don't think that that's what it means. I think that David was recognizing the magnitude of his sin. There may have been variables that led to his sin, but it was ultimately David's choice to turn away from God and instead seek after his own flesh, his own desire. David had been a man after God's own heart, but for a time, David became a man after his own lust. Sin separated David from God. God did not leave David, but David left God. Was it worth it? Nope. David did the right thing later on. He confessed his sin. David, in his no-holds-barred repentance, returned to his relationship with God. What's amazing is that David remains an example to us on how to repent.
When I have sinned, do I point the finger at anyone else? Do I blame circumstances? Do I excuse the magnitude of what I've done? Do I lighten the burden of my sin by convincing myself that it's not so bad? If I do this, I am devaluing the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for me. He didn't die to excuse my sin. He died to forgive my sin. When I turn my back on Him to go after my own desires, do I make light of that choice? Sin is serious because sin separates us from God.
Grace is God loving us and giving us His favour even though we don't deserve it. Why does He give us grace? Because He is love. Let us love Him back with full repentance, because He is worth it.
Prayer: Lord, help us to repent completely, to realize fully the magnitude of sin, not so that we remain in sorrow and shame, but so that we can dwell in You and in Your truth. Help us not to excuse our sin. When we are tempted, help us to remember that we want You more. Amen.