"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” - Matthew 4:17
Jesus’ clear call to repentance is a stern summons to all of us. Like many of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, we cringe at even admitting our own sinfulness much less turning away from our evil habits and there are few exemplars of genuine repentance. Yet King David is one of these.
David made a couple of foolish decisions that placed him directly in the path of temptation. First, he evaded his responsibility to lead his troops into battle. Second, he allowed a glance at a bathing woman to grow into lust. Instead of concentrating on his responsibilities before God and the nation, David was concentrating on his own forbidden pleasures.
The enticing thought led to action, and the sinful action led to tragic consequences. David’s affair with Bathsheba resulted in her pregnancy (2 Sam. 11:5). Instead of repenting at this point, he was led deeper into sin as he arranged the death of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah (2 Sam. 11:11). David married Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11:27), but just when David thought he had completely buried any trace of his sin, the prophet Nathan arrived.
The story Nathan told David vividly illustrated the enormity of David’s sin. The tale of the rich, evil host and the poor, helpless shepherd captured David’s sense of justice. Nathan let the king’s anger build to the boiling point before he turned the heat directly on David. “You are the man!” Nathan said (2 Sam. 12:7). David was the rich man who had not only stolen from a poor man but had even murdered him. David could not bury his sin deep enough to hide it from the all-seeing Lord of justice. Even King David would have to reap the tragic consequences of his evil actions.
When Nathan stopped talking, there must have been a stunned silence in the palace. David faced a clear moment of decision: repentance or resistance. David’s reaction at this point gives us a clue to why God called David “a man after My own heart” (Acts 13:22). He freely admitted his sin and pleaded for forgiveness. Psalm 51 records David’s prayer of repentance. David poured out his broken soul to the Lord and asked God to restore him. His pleas for mercy were couched in signs of genuine repentance, a turning away from his sinful ways. This is a model of true repentance: confession of sin, a plea for God’s forgiveness, and a prayer for the power to change one’s ways.
Because David agreed with God’s judgements and accepted the responsibility for his sins, he did not make it a habit of succumbing to temptation. We did not find him struggling with the same sins over and over. We need to follow David’s example, by learning to repent of our sins as soon as God shows them to us. Through repentance and faith in God, we can find the power from God to break the dreadful cycle of sin and experience true forgiveness.
GOD ALREADY KNOWS THE STATUS OF YOUR LIFE. YOU AREN’T GOING TO START PRAYING AND SUDDENLY CATCH HIM OFF GUARD: “HEY GOD, I ROYALLY BLEW IT TODAY!” HE ALREADY KNOWS!
Are you going to try and hide something from God? Just ask David how that turned out when he murdered Uriah (2 Sam.). Nothing is hidden from God. If you believe there is such a thing as a truly secret sin, you are only fooling yourself.
Today, if there is unconfessed sin in your life, make it known and be free. Sin can only weigh you down. You were created to live victoriously, not in bondage to the past. Don’t worry about your neighbor’s sin; worry about your own. You’re not responsible for what he or she does, but you are responsible for you.
So, take a good, long look in the mirror. What do you see? If you see that you need to repent, today is the day. If you see that you need to make some changes, don’t be afraid. Ask God to help you and He will make a way for you to find your way back to the Cross. He is just waiting to help you make things right again. Don’t put it off for another second!