“But I was born a sinner, yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. You deserve honesty from the heart; yes, utter sincerity and truthfulness. Oh, give me this wisdom.” (Psalm 51:5-6 LB)
In today’s devotional, we are cutting into the middle of David’s sincere confession and repentance of his sinful actions with Bathsheba. After thoroughly acknowledging his guilt and casting himself upon God’s mercy, he now seems to take a slight detour with two astounding discoveries.
The first thing David realizes is that he can trace his sinful condition all the way back to his birth. Although he inherited this spiritual disease, he does not attempt to justify his actions. He also does not try to spin some theological theory about his behavior. Alexander MacLaren writes: “He does not think that sin is the less his, because the tendency has been inherited. But he is spreading all his condition before God. In fact, he is not so much thinking of his criminality as of his desperate need. From a burden so heavy and so entwined with himself none but God can deliver him. He cannot cleanse himself, for self is infected. He cannot find cleansing among men, for they too have inherited the poison.”
On the heels of this startling discovery he looks within and finds that his entire inward being is polluted. He knows that during the past year he has been dishonest with himself. He has avoided the truth about his affair with Bathsheba. It is time to face the truth about himself—no matter what the consequences might be.
Charles Spurgeon states: “Reality, sincerity, true holiness, heart-fidelity, these are the demands of God. He cares not for the pretence of purity, he looks to the mind, heart, and soul. Always has the Holy One of Israel estimated men by their inner nature, and not by their outward professions; to him the inward is as visible as the outward, and he rightly judges that the essential character of an action lies in the motive of him who works it.”
This segment of David’s penitential prayer is not the rationalization of a hypocrite. It is also not the sinner who accuses God of being too demanding. It is the sincere cry of a man who sees that he is in deep trouble. And yet, at the same time, it is a prayer that is full of faith. He has complete assurance in the fact that if he will be sincere with the Lord, that he will be forgiven and cleansed of the contamination of his sin.
Every true believer has, at some time in his life, come to grips with his sinful condition. This realization can be very upsetting. Nevertheless, the sincere person will look over the long history of his life and come to God with a heartfelt sorrow over, not only his sinful actions but the sinful disposition that produced them. Then, in faith of God’s merciful character, will look for the assurance of the pardon that is sure to come.
And how about you? Have you come to grips with your sinful nature? Has this awareness provoked a subtle attitude of complacency or a greater determination to seek God’s aid in changing you?