May 14 (Daily reading: Psalms 32, 51, 86, 122) We know that David struggled under the burden of his sin. He expressed in Psalm 32 the results of unconfessed sin: “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me” (vv. 3-4). David did not remain in this condition, but instead found forgiveness: “I said, ‘I will confess my wrongdoings to the LORD’; and You forgave the guilt of my sin” (v. 5). He described the joy of knowing forgiveness: “How blessed is he whose wrongdoing is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is a person whose guilt the LORD does not take into account” (vv. 1-2).
Once one is aware of sin, forgiveness is possible. The bridge between awareness and forgiveness is confession. David’s confession in Psalm 51 came after Nathan confronted him: “For I know my wrongdoings, and my sin is constantly before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned” (vv. 3-4). We know David’s confession was sincere because he wrote in the preface to Psalm 51, “For the music director.” It was to be sung by the public!
David knew that confession and forgiveness would open the door to personal peace and public ministry. The peace came when he prayed: “Create in me a clean heart, God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (vv. 10-11). Peace comes with being in God’s presence–forgiven! The ministry was possible when he prayed: “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach wrongdoers Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You” (vv. 12-13). God will use forgiven sinners to lead unforgiven sinners to Him!
– Al Gary
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