David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.
2 Samuel 12:13
"I have sinned against the LORD." With these six words David confesses and turns from his sin. They are some of the most difficult words any person has to say in this life. But with them David acknowledges several things. It is worth analyzing this confession to understand just how we may need to own up to our own sins.
First, David took personal responsibility. "I have sinned" could not blame anyone else. He did not justify. He admitted that he was responsible for his sin. There could have been easy justifications... "Bathsheba was out of line by bathing on her rooftop where I could see her..." "She did not refuse me..." "Uriah did not comply with my command to go home..." etc. Instead, David chose to quickly confess his role as the owner of the sin, thus owning the consequences. He did not evade the guilt that comes with being culpable.
Secondly, David did not diminish the actions of his sin. They were wrong and sinful. He saw them as sin, as something completely wrong, and not as something else. The adultery was sin. The murder of Uriah was sin. The cover-up of these actions was sin. By agreeing with God on these matters, David has made a true confession. He is quick to deal with facts and to own his sinful role in the matter.
The third element of David's confession is the magnitude of his guilt. He acknowledges that his sin is against God. Ultimately he committed a kind of idolatry. He chose to devote himself to illicit sexual pleasure rather that to God's plan for him as king. He chose to sinfully defend his personal reputation and pride when Bathsheba became pregnant. Whe he clearly could not do so, he resorted to murder to take control of the outcome. He sinned against God's Word. He tried to usurp God's sovereignty over the outcome of these events. In confession, he acknowledged that God was sinned against.
It was in a confession that fully embraced these three areas that David returned to God. And despite the consequences that would turn to him now, David found that God was remarkably merciful. God let David live and continue to rule Israel. But nothing would be exactly the same for him. Yet, there is always some mercy when we repent. And that is a truth that all sinners (including myself) still find in God.
- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13