10 Apr Create In Me A Clean Heart, Oh Lord
The story of David and Bathsheba is one of the most dramatic accounts in the Old Testament. David was King of Israel and had been blessed immensely by God.
One night in Jerusalem, King David was walking up on his rooftop when he spotted a beautiful woman bathing nearby. David asked his servants about her and was told she was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, one of David’s mighty soldiers. Despite the fact that she was married, David summoned Bathsheba to the palace, and they slept together.
So first of all, David was in the wrong place at the wrong time. If he had been with his army as the king should have been and as God had called him to be, none of this would ever have happened. When we step outside of God’s will for us, we take matters into our own hands and we can get into trouble.
So here we see that David saw this beautiful woman. Even though he asked his servant who she was, it is assumed that he already knew who she was since she was the wife of his most trusted soldier, Uriah. They spent time together, he knew him well. So don’t you think that David also probably already knew his wife Bathsheba?
In fact, Bathsheba was the daughter of one of David’s best fighters, the granddaughter of his most trusted counselor, and the wife of one of his inner circle of honored soldiers.” David not only chooses to commit adultery. He also chooses to betray some of his most loyal followers.
At that moment, David had to stop and think, do I really want to do this? I know what will happen if she comes up here to my room. David’s brain had dropped from his head to his pants at this point and he was unwilling or unable to stop from committing a vile sin. Remember that David is a man who had walked closely with God for a long time. He had God’s favor and His blessings at every turn.
Have you ever found yourself at this same point, trying to decide if you are going to walk away or go for it knowing that it is a sin?
Well David decided to go for it and his servant brought her up into his room and they talked and messed around and then had sex.
So you know as well as I do that sin begets sin. Evil has a snowball effect and it can grow and grow and before you know it, it’s bigger than you thought it ever could be. Then you’re throwing lie upon lie to cover it all up. If any of you have ever spent time in a barn like I did growing up, you know you can throw a mountain of hay on top of a pile of cow pooh, and you can still smell it.
So a little more time went by and Bathsheba discovered she was pregnant, and she informed David. The king’s reaction was to attempt to hide his sin. David commanded Uriah to report back to him from the battlefield. Bathsheba’s husband dutifully answered David’s summons, and David sent him home, hoping that Uriah would have sex with Bathsheba and so provide a cover for the pregnancy and make Uriah think the baby is his.
Instead of obeying David’s orders, Uriah slept in the quarters of the palace servants, refusing to enjoy time with Bathsheba because his men were on the battlefield and still in harm’s way. Uriah did the same thing the next night as well, showing integrity in sharp contrast to David’s selfish desires.
It became apparent that David and Bathsheba’s adultery could not be covered up that way so David enacted a second, more sinister plan. He sent Uriah to the front lines of battle leaving Uriah exposed to enemy attack. Uriah was killed in battle. After her time of mourning, Bathsheba married David and gave birth to a son. “But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.”
So for nine months David held on to this terrible lie. Do you think it was gnawing away at his conscience? How do you feel when you know you’ve done something really bad and you try to cover it up and keep it inside?
Keeping your sin to yourself can have devastating effects. During this time, David must have felt condemned in his heart. It must have been hard for him to write psalms, his harp probably sounded out of tune, and his soul was like a tree in winter. For all life, all creativity, all inspiration comes from the Lord and condemnation can make you feel separated from God, cold, barren and ashamed.
In fact, David didn’t say anything about it to anyone until Nathan came and gave him a message from the Lord.
7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.
8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.
9 Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.
David repented, and Nathan said, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die”. The child did die a week later.
Out of David’s deep mourning and repentance for sinning against God, he wrote Psalm 51.
I’m only going to read an excerpt out of it, but your homework tonight is read all of Psalm 51.
David admitted he was a sinner, even from birth. Then he said:
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
David was crushed by the weight of his sin and his guilt. The love of His Father was the most important thing to him and he had thrown that to the side.
How can we sin when we know that we love God? How can we know what Jesus went through for us and then still continue to knowingly sin?
We Justifying sin. The devil makes it so appealing, so strong that if we don’t stop immediately in our tracks and ask God for strength and help, then we are subjecting ourselves to sin and evil.
David and Bathsheba both justified their sin.
Though David had everything he could ask for, he did not have what he craved the most: the true love of a woman who loved him as a man instead of as King. And Bathsheba, wanted a man who would love her more than he loved his job. David & Bathsheba justified their feelings and gave in to sin.
This is the typical affair story. My wife doesn’t understand me. She only loves me for my money and position. And my husband just works all the time. He never has time for me. I’m lonely and I long for love.
In the account of David and Bathsheba, we find many lessons. First, secret sin will be found out. Second, God will forgive anyone who repents. Third, sin’s consequences remain even when the sin is forgiven. Fourth, God can work even in difficult situations. In fact, David and Bathsheba’s next son, Solomon, became the heir to the throne. Even in bad situations, God has a plan that serves His sovereign purpose.
The key to this whole story is what David says in his psalm. Create in me a clean heart, Oh Lord. Many of us have had hard lives, hard stories. Maybe we still see ourselves as unclean and unworthy of God’s love.
The devil wants you to be ashamed of your past and of who you are. He wants you to feel unclean and he will remind you every day that you are a sinner, a liar, a drunk, a drug addict, damaged goods, and not worth saving. People can make you feel less than, especially sometimes when you’ve shared your story with them. Some will see the glory of what God has done in your life, and yet others will still see you for who you were.
But the truth is, the devil is not at all threatened by the stupid things you did in your past. It’s your glorious future that threatens him. He only wants to keep you believing that you are who you used to be. If he can keep you in that place, then he wins.
Why did God forgive David and return His favor to him? He never forgave Saul or restored His favor to him. What made David different?
David repented and humbled himself before God. God knew David’s heart and knew that he was truly sorry for what he had done. David’s sin broke his heart before God.
The victory comes when we know that we are forgiven in the eyes of Jesus and that the blood He shed for us covers our past. When David asked God to create in me a clean heart, he was begging God for a way past that sin and a new beginning; a new chapter with a bright future and a return to God’s love and His favor. David didn’t have Jesus as a savior and the sacrifice for his sin became his son, his baby.
But we have a Savior. We know the Lamb of God who was sacrificed for our sin and Jesus told us that we are a new creation. We have a clean heart through repentance and the desire to be close to God and follow His ways.
There’s another story that I want to share with you. It ties into this so well.
Luke 7:36-50 (My Alabaster Box)
Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
People can hold your past against you, just like this woman. The Pharisee only saw a sinner and nothing else. But Jesus saw someone so pure, so beautiful and He alone recognized the gifts she was giving to him.
The devil can try all he wants to make you feel stuck in your past, but we have a Savior who also sees past our sin, our shame. He washes us and creates in us a clean heart, a pure heart, a free heart. We can never be condemned by anyone. And if you feel condemned, then you alone have allowed it.
Stop living in the past.
Stop condemning yourself.
Stop listening to the devil.
Envision your clean heart, your pure heart and embrace.
Ask God to clean up the effects of your sin and pave the way to your glorious future.
Feel Jesus near you, feel His breath on your face, and see your heart become clean and pure.