"My Sin Is Always Before Me"
King David of Israel had sinned. Yielding to lust and pas- sion, he brought another man’s wife into his palace and committed adultery with her. A child was conceived. To conceal his sin, he tried to arrange for her husband to come in from battle and spend an evening at home with his wife. But Uriah was too loyal to his king and to his comrades in arms to enjoy the comforts of home, even for the night. Instead, he spent the night on the steps of the King’s house. The next morning, he was sent back to the battle carrying orders from the king for his own death. "In the hottest part of the battle," David said, "put Uriah at the front and then withdraw from him so he will be
killed." (See 2 Samuel 11).
Sin was snowballing on David. One sin led to another, then another. He was covering his sin the wrong way. Sin covered by other sin is equivalent to solving a dandruff problem by wearing a tweed jacket. The real problem is still there and it can only grow worse until proper remedies for it are sought and applied. David’s conscience, however, would not let him forget what he had done. Even though he married Bathsheba, and although he was punished by the death of the child conceived out of wedlock, there was a price to pay for his sin. There were deep regrets and the loss of joy and contentment. Certainly, there had been temporary pleasure in the adulterous sex, but the pleasure quickly gave way to intense suffering and anguish of mind (see Heb. 11:25).
This is why David cried in Psalm 51:3, "For I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is always before me." As long as he was impenitent, his conscience cried out against him. He could not put this wrong in the back of his mind and forget it. It went along with him no matter where he was. Like an albatross around his neck, the sin grew heavier by the hour. David had lost the joy of knowing he was saved (vs. 8, 12). His bones were "broken" (lit., crushed) and could not rejoice as they had in former days. Upon receiving God’s mercy, David promised to warn other transgressors and to convert other sinners (v. 13). He would loudly sing praise to God because of what God’s mercy had done for him (v. 14, 15). In desperation and anguish, David turned to his righteous God for the removal of this guilt.
"Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your loving- kindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin." (Psa. 51:1-2) A sinner really has no other place to turn besides the tender and plentiful mercy of God! To turn elsewhere is to be eternally lost. David never euphemized his sin, nor did he attempt to blame others for it. As horrendous as David’s sins had been, God’s mercy and grace were greater in power and strength. His mercy was not only plenteous, but tenderly offered. God is not stingy with mercy. Neither is He cold- hearted in extending his grace. God is harsh with judgment, but tender with forgiveness. David was now broken in spirit, and his contrite heart was not despised by God (51:17).
Could there be someone reading these words who needs to repent and turn to God? There really is no other recourse if sin is to be remedied. The wonderful truth of the Gospel is that God pardons sin! He cannot condone it, nor will He ignore it. However, he will not hide His face from the sinner who really wants to do right.
— Mark White