Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
We can hide our sin from family and friends for awhile. Or we think we can. We can compare our sin to others and think our sin is not too bad. We can put our sin in the back of minds and try to forget about it. We think we are so good with hiding that we eventually deny that we sin. Our sin, unconfessed, then quietly births babies over the course of time that compound our sin with names called lie, cheat, steal, gossip, hate, anger, murder and sarcasm for life. It’s not a pretty sight. It’s not peace. It’s not what God had in mind for His creation.
David, “the apple of God’s eye”, “a man after the heart of God” sinned. He tried to deny it, hide it, and cover it up with more sin. God finally stepped in and told the prophet Nathan to confront David, the chosen king. It took a lot of courage for Nathan to confront the king whom he loved and served, but it was necessary and right.
Before we read David’s prayer of confession (Psalm 51), let’s review part of the story that led to this honest, repentant confession of David to His Lord, God.
SOMETHING TO KNOW…
2 Samuel 12: (NIV)
“The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!
This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’
11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight.
12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”
13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
There is MUCH more to the story and I encourage you to read from beginning to end so you, (like myself), can get the full flavor of the seriousness of unconfessed sin between our Lord and us.
David realized that all he had done and tried to hide was sin…FIRST against the Lord, God he said he loved. His love for God was put aside for what his flesh wanted. “I have sinned against the Lord.” God made David clean up his mess after the confession. David responds with humble repentance in our next prayer psalm and longs for his relationship with God to be restored.
Psalm 51, The Message
A David Psalm, After He Was Confronted by Nathan About the Affair with Bathsheba
1-3 Generous in love—God, give grace!
Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.
4-6 You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
7-15 Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I’ll let loose with your praise.
16-17 Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.
18-19 Make Zion the place you delight in,
repair Jerusalem’s broken-down walls.
Then you’ll get real worship from us,
acts of worship small and large,
Including all the bulls
they can heave onto your altar!
When David hears Nathan show him the extent of his sin in story form, he immediately responds with, “I have sinned against the Lord.” His prayer of confession includes the same, “You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil.” Yes, God knows. God knows it all, even before we choose to admit it.
We hurt others with our sin, but ultimately it is God and our relationship with Our Creator that is “violated”, made unpure and unholy.
What sin are you hiding that you think is not worth confessing? Ask for the Holy Spirit to enlighten you.
How we treat others in direct correlation to how we treat God! When we strike back at others, we are striking back at God. When we love some but hate others, God sees that hate in us.
When we sin, it is first against God and our relationship with Him.
BUT, we have a way out! God sent His beloved Only Son into the world to pull us out and save us from our own sin. God in His loving grace, full of mercy, gave us HIS plan for redemption upon confessing. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NLT)
“Confession is good for the soul” say the philosophers. Confession leads to eternal life says God, our Father and the Creator of all Who knows all and is in all.
Don’t hold back. (Preaching to myself this morning.) Stop and confess it all. Make a clean break with God, Whom we have offended.
Dear Heavenly Father,
If there is anything offensive to You, God (and there probably is, for it is coming to mind), I confess. For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there.
7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
9 Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit[d] from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
In Jesus Name, Amen