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;

Psalm 51:3-4


Unthinkable! An atrocious crime, committed by a man after God’s own heart, no less.

David, the great leader of the Old Testament, the author of many of the Psalms, was guilty of a terrible crime – a crime we would never expect from such a person. He had sex with Bathsheba, another man’s wife, and then arranged to have her husband killed in battle. He lied, betrayed, and murdered.

David denied the seriousness of the wrongs he’d committed, trying to ignore them. Because of his status as king, he felt safe. No one would accuse him of sin. But no matter how he tried to cover up what he’d done, God knew.

It’s hard to believe that a person so close to God would not have the courage to confess what he’d done. When he did not repent of his sin, heart wrenching consequences followed, affecting David himself, Bathsheba, and innocent people.

When Nathan the prophet confronted David, the severity of what he’d done sank in. In brokenness David exclaimed, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Samuel 12:13)

Psalm 51 is David’s heart-felt prayer of repentance, his confession to God. It is a psalm I’ve always found helpful to read when I’ve done something I feel bad about or am ashamed of. Are you in that spot now? Give it a read. Not only the couple of verses above, but the whole thing. I believe it will help you tell God how you feel. It will bring you closer to him.

Back to David and his prayer:

David realizes he can’t fool God. He had always trusted God’s unfailing love and now cries out for mercy – for his forgiveness. David’s heart is broken. He is crushed. He misses the relationship he once had with God. “Create in me a pure heart,” he prays, “and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (v 10)

At the end of the prayer, in verses 13-15, David asks God for forgiveness and a return to fellowship with him. He expresses his desire to work for God by telling others about what he had done and learned. He wants what he has gone through to become useful for God’s purposes.

Everyone sins, even those you least expect – even a godly man like David. But God will always take us back if we earnestly repent and change our ways. God will forgive.