Psalm 51 was written by David.
He had sinned.
He should have been with his men fighting. He wasn’t. Instead he gazed over his kingdom and saw a woman bathing. Her name was Bathsheba. The lust of the eyes, she was beautiful. The lust of the flesh, he wanted her. The boastful pride of life, he was king and should have what he wanted. David succumbed. He saw. He wanted. He took.
A child was on the way.
But there was a problem. Bathsheba was married to Uriah who was off fighting. David’s adultery would become known. He tried to manipulate the situation to cover his sin, but to no avail. Uriah was a man of integrity and would not be dissuaded from his mission. So, David took drastic measures to insure Uriah’s death. It worked. Uriah was killed on the battlefield.
David then took the widowed Bathsheba into his own house as his wife. Surely no one would know. He had taken great steps to cover his discretions, but adultery and murder were then part of David’s resume.
David had been a man who followed after God. He should have realized that God sees, He hears, He knows.
Nathan, the prophet, made a visit to the king. He came with a story about two men. One was a poor man with only one small lamb, the other a rich man with flocks of sheep. Yet the rich man stole the poor man’s tiny pet and killed it to serve as a meal.
David was incensed at the terrible injustice. He erupted with anger at what the rich man had done.
And then Nathan looked David square in the face and said, “David, you are the man.”
His sin, just as all of our sin, was known by the Lord who knows everything we have ever done.
Confronted with the horror of it all, David broke. His sin was overwhelming. The weight was crushing. This psalm is the cry of David. “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.” Psalm 51:1-3
Sin is part of our lives. We can all look back and begin to number them, but in our accounting, we can’t even remember all of our sins. We are sinners. There is nothing we can do except what David did, cry out to God for mercy.
And God hears that prayer.
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.