DAVID'S AFFAIR WITH BATHSEBA
The superscription under the title informs us both as to the author of psalm, and the occasion of its composition. It reads, “To the chief musician, a Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.” For the history of the painful circumstances of this dark blot in the life of David, see 2 Samuel 11and 12. Suffice it to say that David committed adultery with a beautiful woman whose name was Bathsheba. When the woman informed him that she was with child by him, he tried to cover up the sin by having her husband sent home from the war for a few days, so that he could be with his wife and make it appear that she was pregnant by her own husband. But that failed, for Uriah never saw his wife. He felt it was wrong to enjoy home and wife when the other soldiers were engaged in battle. When that failed, David ordered the general of the army to see to it that he died in battle and would never return. David's only problem was that God saw it all, and sent Nathan the prophet to him who condemned him and informed him that he was worthy of death. David didn't know what his fate would be. he two sins that produced this psalm were adultery and murder, and both sins were punishable by death under the law of Moses. They were committed by one of the most devout and religious men who ever lived in the nation of Israel. Let that be warning to us all.
Before we examine the psalm, one other thing should be noticed. This psalm was not merely a private confession of David's guilt to God, but a public expression of his repentance. He did not write this psalm for himself alone to be used as a prayer, but for those who had charge of the temple music, to be used in the public worship of God.. He penned this psalm as His public confession that he might, by his repentance, edify and encourage the people of God, whom he had greatly offended by his sin. The reason he put his confession and repentance in public form, is stated in verse 13, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me by your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to you.” He would, through his repentance, lead others to do the same. We would all do well to acquaint ourselves with this psalm, for what he said in it convinced God to forgive him of two of the greatest sins we human can commit--adultery and murder. We might be tempted to say that God showed respect of persons because David was the king of Israel. Many others were put to death for these transgressions, but David was spared. What do you think? When David fell to such a low and disgusting level of life, should God have forgiven him? What is your
opinion? Did God show favoritism here or did something take place that caused God to show mercy and forgive him for those terrible sins?. The answer must be in he psalm itself. Let's briefly examine it. One thing David teaches us in the psalm is that when we transgress God's laws, we are to take full responsibility for doing so. He recognized how evil his crimes were. He gives a threefold description of his sinful conduct. He called it “my iniquity.” The word is derived from the word equity or equitable which means fair, right or just. Iniquity means unfair, unjust, unrighteous. David says, “What I did was not fair and right to Bathsheba or her husband. He defines sin as unrighteousness. an unjust thing. He also called it “my transgressions.” This word means “to step over or pass over.” David stepped over or ignored two of God' laws. God said you shall not commit adultery and you shall not murder. . To transgress God's laws is to break them, by passing over them as if they did not exist. He called it “my sin,” which means to fall short, to miss the mark. These are complete descriptions of the way we violate God's word. . Sometimes we pass over or ignore it, and sometimes we fall short of living up to God's law. Whether it is a coming short or passing over God's laws, David says it is inquity, unrighteousness, injustice and unfairness..
We admire David for taking full responsibility for these sins. We are prone to try to shift the responsibility of our sins to others. W e blame the circumstances in which we were placed, the tendencies which we have inherited, or the training we have received. But of this we find nothing in this psalm. David feels that the sin and guilt of his crimes were his and his alone He said, “I acknowledge my transgressions; wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse from my sin”(Vs. 1,2.).
Secondly, we learn from this psalm that all transgression that all iniquity in the world and all sin in the world are all sins against God Himself. He said to God, “Against You, You only have I sinned and done this evil in your sight”(Vs, 3,4). How shall we understand that? David sinned against Bathsheba. She was responsible too, but David more so, for He was a King and women in ancient times were afraid to refuse to submit to rulers. He also sinned against Uriah the husband, and he was one of his most loyal soldiers. Not only that, he also sinned against human society by his bad example as the leader of the chosen people of the one true and living God.. Yet, it was the fact that his crimes were wrongs against his God that chiefly impressed and distressed him. All sins against man are sins against God. Every blow struck against humanity is a blow struck against God. What David meant was God is the chief One against whom all sin in the world is committed, and He alone can exonerate us.
Finally, David made sixteen petitions in this psalm. He said, “Have mercy on me O God...” He did didn't ask for justice but for His tender mercies. Then he said, “Blot out my transgressions.” That is wipe out or blot out these offences. Remove them from your book. Then he said, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity.” Not his skin but like dirty garments are washed.. Another petition was, “Cleanse me from my sin.” Transgressions, iniquity and sin cover every form of moral evil, and he confessed them all.
The petitions continue again with verse 7, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean.” Hyssop was a plant used in the purification system of the Jews. It was used sprinkle blood sometimes and more often water mixed the ashes of a red heifer. Next, “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” One of our great invitation hymns is derived from that petition. Another petition was, “Make me hear joy and gladness...”
The next set of petitions are given in vs. 5-12, and passes to a new theme. In verses 1-5 he was asking for pardon and forgiveness. Next, he prays for restoration to God's favor and for a renewal of spiritual life, and for the joy and happiness this will bring to him. He went on to say, “Hide your face from sins and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Cleansing was not enough; ”renew a steadfast spirit within me.” He needs renewal as well as cleansing. He continues, “Do not cast me away from you presence and do not take your Holy Spirit from me.” This is the first time in scripture that the third person of the Godhead's full full name is stated, “the Holy Spirit.”
The remaining petitions are: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation. Uphold me by your generous Spirit. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.”
Christians should keep these truths in mind. We too can commit terrible sins, but we learn from the experience of David that no sin is to great, too evil, or too bad for God to forgive. We might learn from David how we ought to talk to God, if we should fall into great and terrible sins. The word of God to Christians is, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”