II Sam. 12:1-13a; Ps. 51:1-19
The prophet, Nathan came to King David and told him a story of a rich man who had vast flocks and a poor man who had only a pet lamb. As was customary when entertaining guests, a lamb or calf would be butchered. On one occasion instead of taking from his own flock, the rich man took the pet lamb from the poor man to feed his guest.
David was enraged. “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die!”
In one of the most scathing revelations in the Bible, Nathan replied, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: I anointed you king…Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house…”
Sometimes when one is convicted of his sins, he becomes defensive and belligerent. David was a mighty and powerful man—king of Israel. He was also subject to human frailties. Being convicted of his sin, he humbly replied, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
There are brief pleasures of sin. Moses recognized that when he chose to suffer affliction with God’s people instead of enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season. The pain of a guilty conscience led David to repentance as he penned the words of another psalm. He began by calling for God’s mercy to forgive as he confessed his sins. Even though our sins usually hurt others, they are ultimately against God. David pled for cleansing and restoration to his former state of salvation. He further promised to help others to see the way to God as he renewed his worship praises to the Lord with a penitent heart. David closed the psalm with a prayer for Jerusalem.