This Week's Focus Passage

I acknowledged my sin unto thee

Focus Passage: Psalm 32:5

‘I acknowledged my sin unto thee.’

The ground, or purpose, for David’s having written the fifty-first psalm has been helpfully revealed unto us by the divine Author at the very outset. God, the Holy Spirit caused that this psalm should begin with something of a preface in order that there should be no question regarding either the human authorship or the occasion of its being penned. We immediately read the following inspired words;

For the chief musician. A Psalm of David; when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba

Thus we are granted an awareness of the circumstances of David’s most eloquent composition. If we but examine the record, or narrative, presented to us in the second book of Samuel, chapters eleven and twelve, we will discover for ourselves the sad—we could easily say, horrifying—account of the king of Israel’s shocking plummet into the sins of both adultery and murder. David continued undeterred and unrepentant for—as most commentators believe—upwards of a year in this condition until it pleased Jehovah to send Nathan the prophet unto this miserable man in order to bring him to confess his terrible wickedness. The manner employed by this godly but clever servant of the Lord involved relating to the king the ‘tale’ of a wealthy man with many sheep who, nonetheless, demurred from taking from his own flock to provide a meal for an unexpected guest, but rather purloined the only lamb of his poor neighbor to feed his visitor. David didn’t even recognize that the ‘wealthy man’ in the story that Nathan had presented for the king’s judgment in the matter was himself. Nathan had set a trap for king and it worked perfectly. David arose in an angry fit and judged that this merciless man was worthy of and would pay four-fold for his neighbor’s loss. The king, having taken the bait, Nathan closed the trap upon him, saying simply, ‘Thou art the man.’ Upon this, the eyes of David were opened and he saw himself as that wicked rich man. He responded very plainly, ‘I have sinned against Jehovah,’ to which the prophet was bidden to say to David, ‘Jehovah also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.’ Nevertheless, David was deserving of death—and he knew it. We may easily imagine that he, almost immediately, took his pen in hand and wrote out, in much greater detail, that beautiful psalm of repentance; the fifty-first psalm.

The thirty-second psalm, however, is the prayer/song wherein we are able to discover the inner conflict of the child of God who has fallen into sin; is under conviction for it, yet is stoutly refusing to repent and confess that sin either to God, or to man. It is a rather graphic portraiture of such a person. We must understand the differences between conviction, repentance, and confession of sin. David says in verses three through five:

When I kept silence, my bones wasted away through my groaning all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture was changed as with the drought of summer. [Selah] I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity did I not hide: I said I will confess my transgressions unto Jehovah, and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. [Selah]

There is conspicuous progression in the experience of David which we should anticipate as teaching the likely experience of any that would attempt to cover their sins. David did all that he could to cover his adultery with the wife of Uriah, even to the point of scheming his death with the sword of the children of Ammon. He must have imagined that he had succeeded in this maleficent plot. He then took the widow of Uriah to wife, supposing that when the child of adultery was born, his people would presume that Bathsheba had simply had a short-term pregnancy. But David knew the truth and, when he kept silence, his bones wasted away with his groaning all the day long. The King James Version renders the word roaring rather than groaning, and Charles Spurgeon has said ‘Horror at his great guilt, drove David to incessant laments, until his voice was no longer like the articulate speech of man, but so full of sighing and groaning, that it resembled the hoarse roaring of a wounded beast.’ Indeed, this sinner was being wounded by his conscience while he kept his silence of words and could not restrain himself from roaring. Yea, the hand of God was heavy upon him day and night, while whatever moisture he had was as though it were a drought. All this felt dryness; this wasting away; the weight of God’s hand upon him remained until he acknowledged his sin, ceased from trying to hide his iniquity from the All-knowing One, and confessed these transgressions, sins, and iniquities unto his heavenly Father.

Upon that confession, his conscience was relieved from the weight of his sin, with its dryness and wasting away. Confession of sin is the only means that has been provided for the restoration of fellowship with God and whoever else we have sinned against. Solomon, the son of David, in his Proverbs echoed this truth in his own way, when he said, ‘he that covereth his transgressions shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall find mercy.’—Proverbs 28:13. One of the most popular verses in the entire body of Scripture is 1 John 1:9, where the inspired apostle has pointed to this blessed truth when he said that, ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ How many are there that happily embrace this promise of forgiveness while overlooking, or ignoring, the qualification that is set there; that ‘IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS’ We should freely admit that, by nature, we don’t like the ‘Ifs’ that are found throughout the Word of God. We want forgiveness! We want cleansing! We want reconciliation! What we don’t want is to confess our sins! We don’t want to acknowledge them to God. We want to continue hiding them, when God calls us to confess our sins to one another. The only covering for sin is the blood of Christ, then may God cast it away as far as the east is from the west.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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