“Thou Art the Man”

These were the words of Nathan the prophet as he gave David a first-class guilt trip. Recall the smooth way in which he maneuvered David into the position of being his own judge. Nathan told him a story of a rich man who had a poor man’s only pet lamb killed to feed a hungry guest. David was outraged at this injustice and cruelty. At this precise time, Nathan poured on the guilt: “Thou art the man!”

David, who had several wives, saw a bathing beauty one night. It would appear that it was quite by accident on his part. Bathsheba however, surely knew that her choice of locations to lather up was too risky or risqué. Instead of turning his eyes from looking upon another man’s wife, David lusted in his heart. Lust for the flesh led him to call for her. She came. They commit adultery. No one was the wiser, until she found out she was expecting. Then again, what did they expect.

David and Bathsheba wanted to hide this sin. So, at his command her husband was sent from the battlefield to the home front to cover up their wicked deed. When that did not work Uriah was sent from the home front to the battle front and in effect killed by the king’s order.

Why didn’t they confess? Why did they feel the need to hide their sin? Married couples do this sort of thing every day in America. David and Bathsheba were feeling the pressure of guilt because of sin. If they could only cover up the sin and hide it from man’s eyes, the pains of guilt would cease. He opts for murder and even involves a loyal friend in his plot. David was only increasing his guilt and intensifying the pain, and compounding the consequences.

Misery of Unresolved of Guilt

Adultery and murder hung over David’s head like the deadly blade of a poised guillotine. David mentions some very real physical and emotional symptoms of harboring sin in Psalm 32:3-4. “When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah”. His days were miserable, his nights were no happier. Consider for a moment, that David may have appeased his conscience and allayed the feelings of guilt. If so, he would have felt better, but he would have been in far worse shape spiritually. He needed a good friend to awaken his conscience and sensitize it to his guilt.

Facing the Guilt

Be sure your sin will find you out. Their sin was hidden from man, but not from God and consequently his prophet. Nathan comes to convict David’s conscience. His conscience was revived, and he confessed guilt, “So 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 Sam. 12:13).

In the 51st Psalm, David is believed to recount his road to recovery. Several, important mile markers designate the route to overcoming the guilt of sin.

First, accept personal accountability for your sin. “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your loving kindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.” (vv. 1-3). Notice, now how he makes no effort to justify himself.

Second, realize our sin against God. “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight– that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.” (v. 4). We should turn from sin, not because it brings pain, poverty, or punishment, but because it is against God.

Third, pray for our sins to be cleansed. “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (vv. 6,7).

Only when he was able to repent and turn to God for healing, did God forgive. “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah” (Ps. 32:5) Only then was he blessed. “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit” (vv. 1,2). This even required accepting the consequences of sin: the death of the child. Bathsheba was soon pregnant again with David’s heir, Solomon, whose name means peaceful. To David and Bathsheba, the new baby’s birth symbolized that God was at peace with them.

Guilt is a burden too great for man to bear. Although, it is a blessing to help place us back on track in the merciful hands of the Lord, many merely wish to deaden these spiritual nerves by covering up their sin. Doing this too often results in a seared conscience desensitized to the goad of guilt.

Several years ago, a thief was known as “the gentlemen bandit”. His stealing was tempered with kind actions. This however did not soothe his conscience. After a while he turned himself into police. His guilt would not let him get away with his unkind deeds. If you are guilty don’t live in misery turn yourself in. The Lord has a plan of pardon.

– Daniel R. Vess

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