In yesterday’s post I made a reference at the end about how we should seek to know God despite the ugly sins of our past. I started thinking about my own past sins, and felt so ashamed of them and how they displeased God. Then I began to reflect on the lives of David and Paul, who both sinned in such publicly gross ways, yet they were both chosen and beloved by God. The volume of sinfulness that followed David’s uncontrolled lust for Bathsheba always astounds me. When he saw Bathsheba on the rooftop, instead of looking away instantly, he held his gaze and gave in to lust. He became so consumed by his lust that he told his servants to take a married woman out of her home without the consent of her husband (an absolutely shameful thing to do in that culture), and then he committed adultery with her. Still completely enslaved to his lust, he then conspired deceitfully against Uriah, using numerous other people to carry out his murderous plan, until Uriah was dead and Bathsheba was David’s for the taking. Yet after all the wickedness he had done, David came to his senses only after Nathan rebuked him. David faced severe discipline from God because of His sin.
And yet, God loved him–and David loved God.
In David’s prayer of repentance, he made a remarkable statement. He said, “For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:16-17) In other words, if a religious ritual could appease God for David’s sins, then he would have offered sacrifices, but he knew better. David knew that God wanted his heart–that is why David fell into so much sin in the first place, because his heart had been hardened and consumed by lust. It wasn’t soft and malleable. It wasn’t broken. God desires that the will of our hearts are broken in submission to His will, not our own.
David knew that he could not fool God with an insincere sacrifice. Likewise we may fool other friends and family into thinking that we are alright when our heart is black with sin. We can hide behind our external appearance and actions. David hid his sin through the abuse of his status and authority as king. But it was all for nothing, because while he was able to temporarily hide his sin from other people, he was unable to hide it from the most powerful Being in existence–and that is all that counts. God knows the hearts of all. But in this we can also be encouraged, because while we may be misunderstood by others or our intentions thought ill, all that matters is that we seek to know God and submit to His will. That’s it.
Whatever our lot, we may seek God boldly, knowing that God loves us despite our sinful past and delights in those who know Him and seek His will. (Jeremiah 9:23-24).