Scriptures to Read: Psalm 51, 2 Samuel 2:1-14
The following scenario is probably an all too familiar story for a lot of people. It’s been a long, dreary day. You’re bored and there is nothing to do, you walk into your house surprised to find that no one is there. You go to your room and sit down and scroll through Instagram and that’s when it hits you; the desire to go to the internet and watch people pervert and destroy a wonderful gift that the Lord gave the world. In your mind, you are fighting back and forth on every reason why you shouldn’t do it, but eventually, you stumble and there you are again feeding the lion you thought you had caged up within your soul. Seconds after it’s over, your heart is torn. You feel sick to your stomach. “How could this happen again?” or maybe even, “My spiritual walk with the Lord was going so well why was I so unprepared to fight this?” The questions go on and on. You may even get angry at the very God whom you just spit on with your sin, “Where was he when I most needed him?”
Pornography has stained this world with the darkest crimson imaginable. No amount of human efforts will ever be able to cleanse what has been done to the people whose bodies have been used and used for pleasure, the young eyes that glance out of curiosity and soon become enslaved by the time they are in their twenties, or even the broken souls of Christians who can’t seem to run away permanently from the desire and temptation, falling again and again. Of course, none of this is news to you. I do not intend to write a piece of earth-shattering, “never before heard” news, but rather an encouragement to those struggling.
Your heart can be cleansed because it is not the work of human hands but that of the Almighty God.
In the scriptures, I listed above, it lists 2 Samuel 2:1-14 This is very important to the context of Psalm 51, and to understand exactly what David was dealing with you need to pay attention. In summary, King David had seen a woman bathing and wanted her as his wife but she was married. Knowing his flesh was prone to temptation, he didn't flee from the situation, but rather he calls her to him and completely surrenders to his sinful desire by sleeping with her. Still not being satisfied, David sends out orders to have her husband killed in battle so he can marry her- a woman he had just met. David commits both adultery and murder. This is a familiar reminder of how quickly and drastically our own sin can affect our lives. I imagine the things I have done before and how heavily they weigh on me, but I can’t begin to feel the weight of the guilt David must have felt because of what he deliberately did over not just a few minutes but days and days. He knew in his heart what he was doing was so sinful but he proceeded anyway. Every single person I know relates to this. We do this all the time. Just like David, it is also important to surround yourself with people who are willing to call you to repentance. Nathan the prophet rebukes David for his sin and calls him to repentance, leading David to write Psalm 51.
David begins his prayer to the Lord with pleas for mercy,
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!” (v.1,2)
Here we can already see David acknowledging that God is the one he has ultimately sinned against, and God is the one whom he must ask for mercy. David goes on to not only acknowledge that God is the one he has sinned against but that he has in fact sinned.
“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.” (v3,4)
He continues with pleas to the Lord and begs Him to cleanse him and his heart.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” (v. 10-12)
I think it is interesting here that the Psalms really comes to a climax not around necessarily his sorrow or even his sin specifically, but the fact that he is sinful. David writes so beautifully here just how desperately we should be crying to God for his renewal and strength every moment of every day. The only one who could renew David is God. No one else, only God. When I truly meditate on the Lord forgiving my sins and cleansing my heart regardless of how big my sin is it takes my breath away. I love how after all this David sings praises of the Lord’s forgiveness! Once we repent of our sins we are not to wallow there. We are to rejoice that the Lord is so loving and good to save us and forgive us!!
You don’t understand what the Lord has done for you until you truly repent and rejoice in his salvation of your soul. To wallow in sadness or guilt is to say that the Lord’s forgiveness means little to you. God is so good and my words can’t express that. You are free from sin so rejoice in it! Jesus came and conquered the temptation we face every day. And if we are in Christ, the same power that was at work in raising Him from the dead is at work in our lives. We have hope and victory through Jesus' work on the cross! No longer are we slaves to our sinful flesh, but we have obtained the ability to say no to what dominates us. There is hope in the cross.
“Come now and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18