Bible Text: Psalm 51 | Preacher: Lionel Letcher | Series: Topical |
The cost of commission
There is a physical cost
There is a spiritual cost
David lost the purity of his heart
He needed to be washed
Sin affects the whole person
His heart was affected
His eyes were affected
His ears were affected
His lips were affected
His mind was affected
Sin’s corruption of the inner person broke his fellowship with God
But I want to take some time this morning too. Talk about a pivotal point in David's life and that is his sin with Bathsheba and the confrontation that was brought by Nathan. And so you could get some background all this by going into 2 Samuel 11-12 and you'll see there some background in David's life and you'll see Nathan the prophet confronting David. But I want to skip to Psalm 51 and look at David's prayer of confession that's found there because it's an important one for us because it reveals to us how we should deal with sin in our lives and it reveals the heart of repentance as such. And so there is another, Psalm that's linked with this as well. And that is some 32. So these two Psalms, I believe, are very good Psalms to read in unison because they deal with David making confession. And then Psalm 32 he talks about the blessedness of forgiveness, which for those who are born again, you understand that blessedness of forgiveness. That's just pray and ask the Lord to bless the word to our hearts and our lives. This morning as we read through Psalm 51. Father, we thank you Lord. Thank you for your word. We thank you for the life of David and Lord we thank you because it reveals to us, the scripture reveals to us how imperfect David was in so many ways. And while it would be easy for us to stand back and cast judgment upon him for the sins he committed, yet, we can see that you had a plan and purpose in David's life. A great and mighty plan. And that part of that Lord would be the record of his life handed down for us. That we might see how you work. So patient link with us. So we praise you. We ask you Lord to bless the ministry of your word, to our lives and hearts. Let it bring light into our hearts that we might walk accordingly. Amen.
Praise the Lord. Well Psalm 51. The background of these two Psalms, in a nutshell is that David lusted after his neighbour's wife. He committed adultery. He, coerced the husband into a drunken state. All of these things failed. David was trying to get the husband to have sexual relationship with his wife so that then he might be fooled into believing the child was his. All of this failed so David had him killed on the battle front and then he covered the whole affair for about a year. And David wasn't a youth when he fell into these sins.
Sometimes we think that lust based sins, the sins of youth. But that's not a truism at all. In fact there are many middle aged men who fall into lustful sins, many of them as a coming to that stage of life that is often called midlife crisis. And they're unhappy with their present circumstances or whatever excuse there may be. And so David wasn't a youth when he fell into the sins, he was a mature man. And he was ruling over a great kingdom. So, you know, he had a lot of responsibilities. He probably had a lot of fulfilment in life. But often sins of lust are committed by those who have an overconfidence in self. And for various reasons, whatever that may be. But you know, and David, here he is a ruler of a kingdom and very successful man in so many ways.
A competent man, a poet, a warrior, King, father, all these, all of the attributes in life that many seek for, wealthy. In 1 Corinthians 10:12 says, therefore, let him who thinks it stands take heed that he does not fall. And so, you know, that's the same for all of us. You can read as a corresponding verse to Psalm 51 and Psalm 32. You could read 1 John 1:5 through to chapter two. You can see God's provision for cleansing there. But let's move on here this morning. Psalm 51, for the choir director, a Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him after he had gone in to Bathsheba, be gracious to me. Oh God. According to your compassion, according to the greatness of your compassion, blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 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 are justified when you speak and blameless when you judge. Behold I was brought forth in inequity and in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, you desire truth in the inner most being and in the hidden part you will make me know wisdom. Purify me with hyssop and I shall be clean. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness. Let the bones which you have broken, rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all of my iniquities, create in me a clean heart, Oh God. And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence and do not take your Holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways and sinners will be converted to you.
Deliver me from blood guiltiness Oh God, the God of my salvation. Then my tongue will joyfully sing of your righteousness. O Lord open my lips that my mouth may declare your praise. For you do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it. You're not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart O God you will not despise. By your favour do good to Zion. Build the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will delight in righteous sacrifices in burnt offering and whole burnt offering. Then young bulls, will be offered on your altar. Amen. How often when we speak of seeing we speak generally or in a disconnected kind of manner, we speak of someone else's sin. Usually when we speak with someone else's sin, we are very quick and are very comfortable with highlighting how egregious their sin is.
We are not always as quick and as willing to highlight our own sin in that same way, using those same terms. But often is the case that when we speak of sin we speak much more harshly of others sins than of our own sins. But we can see here in this prayer of David's, in Psalm 51 we can see, that this is a very personal prayer and he is talking about his iniquity, his sin in a very personal manner. And that's how sin should be approached. He says me, he says, my sin, my inequity in the opening 4 verses, David makes it completely clear that he's speaking of himself and his eyes are not on someone else. His eyes are on himself as far as guilt goes. And as far as the need is represented.
And this is really important because our prayer life can be so generic. So many times we can be in the place in which we pray. Oh Lord, let your blessing be on my life. What are we talking about when we say these things? You know, "O Lord, wash away my sin". What sin? You know, what sin are we talking about? And so David, he was very specific in registering his guilt before God and in identifying the fact that he was indeed the guilty party involved here. And so this is really important for us. So when we think about David's confession in Psalm 51, let's consider the cost of the commission of sin, the cost of committing sin. Obviously if we all knew the cost of any particular thing before we did it, we would be very careful, wouldn't we in life, we would weigh things up as to the value versus the benefit.
We would do a cost benefits analysis and we might consider something worthwhile. Or when it comes to sin, there is a cost involved. And our text indicates to us that this sin that David falling into this lust, well not falling, that's the wrong language, but he went headlong into this lust, adultery, enticing a man to drunkenness and committing murder, but at the time there's no doubt that even though David's conscience would have been pricked before he committed this sin, at the time, it was just momentary. These were momentary acts, they're acts that are done in a moment and that's one of the great problems with sin is that sin is something that can occur very quickly, but it can have devastating and longterm affects to it. But there is a price to pay for sin. So no matter how fleeting the time of our involvement in sin may have been, there is a price attached to it and David paid, he paid that price for his sin. It is possible though that David, had planned to sin when he came home from battle. There's all kinds of things around this situation, but Psalm 32:3 says, when I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away. So there is even a physical cost to sin, Psalm 32:3 "through my groaning all day long, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long". Psalm 32:4 says, "what day and night your hand was heavy upon me. My vitality, my life was drained away as with the fever heat of summer". So David is describing that in his own sin and in his own commission of sin, he paid for these sins physically in his body. There was a heaviness that came upon him while he was covering it. While I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.
You see, this is the importance of relationship with God and that way in the damage of that relationship and the conviction of the sin that has brought that damage, there would be a heavy burden upon us. And God has an intention in that to bring us to a place where we will turn in repentance and seek his forgiveness. David said that his vitality, it was drained a little bit like having this cold and flu, you know, it drains you of your energy. Well, David describes that physically, that the post effect of having committed his sin was that as it remained covered, it was draining him, draining the vitality of his life away. He paid for his sins and became ill, it seems from his record, but there is also a spiritual cost and this is also great. I this spiritual cost David lost the purity of his heart. Now versus 1 and 2, David, asks the Lord and be gracious to me or God according to your loving kindness, according to the greatness of your compassion. Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. You see, David saw the need to be purified. He needed to be washed. Purify me with hyssop and I will be clean. Wash me and I will be whiter than snow. Now it's important to note through this Psalm, the usage of, the words associated with David sin here because he's not being generic. I mentioned that earlier, but he also uses words such as transgressions, iniquity, and sin. We often just talk about a sin which in biblical terms means the missing of the mark, failing to meet God's standard. And that's true, about sin.
But iniquity means an inward crookedness, a perversity. So David, when he writes this poetry of confession to God, he describes the acts that he had committed as being both sin and inequity, a crooked perverseness of his heart. He also describes it as transgression. Well, we often think of transgression as simply the crossing over barrier, but biblically it is a much stronger, word than that, the word has the meaning of, and I think it's pesha in the Hebrew, but it has a meaning of an act of rebellion. Defying God by crossing over the line God has drawn. And so, you know, as parents or teachers know, they often say children like to step across the line. But that's not what David is saying when he uses the word transgression. He's saying that you took a running leap across the boundary that God had set.
This is not a mistake, is sin with Bathsheba was not a mistake. It wasn't a simple stumble into sin. He transgressed, he acted in rebellion against God's boundary on his life. And that's the case, there is a spiritual cost involved when we commit sin. So there's a physical cost. There's a spiritual cost. David's heart was affected. You see, sin affects the whole person. It affects the heart. Now the heart, biblically speaking, is not just about this idea of emotions. The heart is, the biblical understanding of it is this idea of the connection of thought and feeling together. And so David says in verse 17, the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, O God you will not despise. Now this suggests that at some point David was living in the opposite way. His heart was not broken.
His heart was not contrite. So it's suggests that he's heart had become defiled in some way and hardened in some way, and that God had to take David through a process of softening his heart. You see, when we harbour sin, it hardens the heart, it dulls the spiritual senses toward the condition of our heart relationship with God. So David also speaks of his eyes being affected. Psalm 51:3, for I know my transgressions and my sins are ever before me. So all he could see was, was he sins, what a terrible place of life to be in that he's being consumed constantly by the commission of his sin. Of these sins rather, because there were multiple sins tied up in his adultery. This is what a corrupted conscience does. A corrupted conscience does not give a person rest. And people with a dirty conscience are on the defensive and they often become angry.
They wonder what other people know. And I find it interesting when you read in 2 Samuel 12, when Nathan confronts David and, and using the little story about the lamb, et cetera. David's response initially is one of a great deal of anger. Well, that's interesting to me because the old saying "thou protest too much" comes to mind. And David here, as Nathan confronts him, his anger rises up there and, he responds angrily at Nathan. And I think it's a couple of things, that one thing, it's a deflection, look over there. Look over there, shiny object. But the other thing is that this response of anger is the response of anger because he's been covering the sin and all the time his conscience is at work within and the anger is now coming to the surface. Anger is a common response when people are harbouring sin.
And it's one I know that a lot of pastors look out for when they see it in people. His ears were affected. Verse 8, he says, make me to hear joy and gladness. Let the bones which you have broken, rejoice. How interesting. Isn't this one of the most fundamental effects of sin, that joy and gladness, are gone. in a person's life. And David has to plead with the Lord in this prayer for cleansing and forgiveness in this prayer that God would restore him. He pleads with God to bring back joy and gladness to him. Nothing sounds good to a person who's out of fellowship with God, a person who is harbouring sin in their conscience is deeply burdened. There's nothing that sounds good. You wonder why some of the sinners you work with are just down out grumpy people all the time. And whenever you talk with them, there's just constant negativity.
Nothing you could say is pleasing to them. And it's because of that heavy burden of sin that exists in their life without being able to go to the saviour and be washed, clean. So his ears were affected. His lips were affected. He says to the Lord in verse 13, then I will teach transgressors your ways and sinners will be converted to you. Deliver me from blood guiltiness Oh God, the God of my salvation. Then might tongue will, joyfully sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips that my mouth may declare your praise. He could. He could no longer testify. He could no longer witness. You know, this is David. He is a Herald of God's word. You know, he wasn't able to sing God's praises and rejoice in God. There's nothing that shuts a Christian's mouth like unconfessed sin. His mind was affected.
Verse 6 behold you desire truth in the innermost being and in the hidden part you will make me know wisdom. So how interesting that David, because he's out of fellowship with God, that he knows that after things are restored, then he will know wisdom. And so there is an effect upon his heart and mind. And both the emotional knowledge but also the intellectual understanding. You see sins corruption of the inner person results in a break in fellowship with God. So there is no mistaking why God has revealed that marriage is a representation of Christ and the church. Because when there has been damage done to a marriage relationship, there is a coldness that forms and we're not just talking about adultery that causes that, but any kind of damage to the marriage relationship results in a coldness forming within that relationship and the couple are damaged, their fellowship is damaged. And so David pleads with the Lord, create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence. Do not take your Spirit from me. Here's David pleading for the inner person of the heart and spirit. Verse 10 create in me clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit. So David is pleading that God would, in the inner person, restore things. He was out of fellowship with God. And the joy is gone. He's not able to rejoice in God. And all of these effects of his sins. God uses this brokenness of fellowship to bring us to a place where you and I will come to that repentance and true confession of our sin. But when we grieve the Holy spirit in sin, there is a brokenness to have fellowship with God.
Ephesians 4 says, "let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment. So that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you along with all malice, be kind to one another. Tenderhearted, forgiving each other just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." You know may we never forget the high price of committing sin. I have a couple of other points to make, but we will look at the cost of committing, the cost of confession, and the cost of cleansing next week. But just consider that with me this morning, these points that we made.
Of how sin affected David's life and ask yourself that question. Have you forgotten the cost of committing sin personally, the cost to you? Because there is a cost in your life and we're going to get onto the cost regarding the birth, death and resurrection of Christ. But there is a cost to you. It affects your relationship with God. If you're a believer, it affects your standing with God and it affects your relationship with others and it causes you to, deflect, it causes you to respond. You know, it damages you so that when you respond in life, you respond the wrong way in life, anger, bursts forth and impatience with people. This deflection, when somebody talks about that subject, you deflect it, you push it away, or you talk about sin in the third person when you talk about sins that you're guilty of, you talk about it in relation to other people, all of these kinds of things.
These are indications that something's being damaged within your life. And that's what sin does, it damages us. So we'll come back to the cost of confession and cleansing next week and look at those then. So thank you very much for being with us this morning. So our Father, we thank you and we praise you Lord. Well, what a joy we have to have experienced the love of Jesus shed abroad in our hearts through faith in his name? We thank you for his death. Lord, a death that we rightly deserved, that he took upon himself in place of us. Help us to always be thankful for this Lord. I pray, father this morning, that anyone listening has the opportunity to confront their sin, Lord God, and to bring it before you, Lord and be restored in fellowship with you. Oh, what a devastating series of sins David committed to Lord God. And yet you were merciful to him because of the plea of his heart. So there is no sin that we can commit Lord, that is outside the bounds of your love. So we ask you, Father, that for anyone listening who is harbouring or covering sin, Lord, cause in them deep conviction so that they will turn to you and confess that sin, be restored to right fellowship. We praise you in Jesus name.