Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. 16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise. 18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; build the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering; then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.—Psalm 51:13-19
Today we’re going to discover the third and final truth we must face as we move forward after repenting of our sin. David describes the importance of confessing and repenting beyond our own fleshly desire to avoid embarrassment or punishment (which can nevertheless be useful in preventing future sinful actions). David was guilty of shedding innocent blood when he sent Uriah to the front lines of the battle to be killed. Having confessed his sin to the Lord, he now asks God to deliver him from the awful guilt of bloodshed. In truth, God is the only One who can free us from guilt. We’ll never be free of our guilt until we’re free of our sin. And then we can be truly free indeed in every way.
David knows that God wasn’t looking for a ritualistic service as an act of repentance. God can’t be bought, nor can restored joy and usability be purchased. He wanted David’s heart to be broken over what he had done, of which the greatest consequence was that he’d given God’s enemies reason to blaspheme the Lord (2 Samuel 12:14a).
It’s sad how seldom we see prominent church leaders and saints who’ve fallen into sin turn around and face those first difficult steps of restoration. Few seem truly repentant, and even worse is the occasion their sin gives to the enemies of God. Most don’t have that broken spirit and contrite heart (v. 17) that David experienced. Instead they seem more ashamed of their personal loss than the fact that they supplied fodder to God’s enemies.
David humbly cries to the Lord, “Do good, Lord, for the sake of Your city Zion. Build up what my own actions have torn down.” He says, “Then you shall be pleased with the sacrifices and offerings of your servants.” Tragically, David’s sin had shamed all of Israel as sins of saints today shame the church. This brings us to the final truth we all must “face first” if our joy and restoration after sinning can be made complete, and that is this: There is nothing more important in life than our witness. Think about how many families have been devastated by the exposed sin of a prominent church leader. Not only was their own witness destroyed but the lives and witness of their family members has been drastically altered as well. We tend to focus on the embarrassment and consequences for sin, but the most important element of restoring the joy of salvation and the key to removing the guilt is a broken and contrite heart over having given God’s enemies the chance to blaspheme (1Corinthians 9:24-17). Being disqualified for preaching Christ because of our actions is a far greater loss than any other. We all stumble in many things, and sadly, many don’t get up after stumbling but repeat the same sin and then ask God for mercy again and again.
Excerpt from “Beside Still Waters” now available on Amazon.