David is described as a man after God’s heart (Acts 13:22), but that doesn’t mean that he was perfect. That’s good news for us! Because, as we strive to also chase after God’s heart, we can become disheartened when we sin. By exploring how David handled his return to God, we can better travel this narrow path (Matthew 7:13-14) ourselves.
I. 2 Samuel 12:1-15. The man after God’s heart admits he has sinned. David didn’t seem to see his sin with Bathsheba or her husband Uriah, and so God dispatched the the prophet Nathan with a parallel story. The king saw the wrong and pronounced judgment on the wrongdoer. That’s when Nathan was able to confront David with his sin. Rather than ignore, justify, or pass blame for his sin as Adam and Eve did (Genesis 3:12-13), the man after God’s heart admitted to his sin.
II. Psalm 51:1-17. The man after God’s heart repents of his sin. Though it may not be part of scripture, most scholars agree that the titles attached to the Psalms are very old. The title attached to Psalm 51 indicates that this is David’s attitude after he had sinned. It’s an attitude of repentance. In this psalm, David takes ownership of his sin and acknowledges that only God can cleanse him from it. More than that, he appeals for renewal of a right spirit within him, a restoration to the joy of his salvation, and to be upheld by God. Only then can he teach sinners how to return to God.
III. Ezekiel 18:21-23. Admitting and repenting define a man after God’s heart. Only if we live according to the Spirit and not the flesh can we avoid the eternal consequences of death and live (Romans 8:12-13)! This means that like David we must admit and repent of our sins as we all must one day give an account to God (Hebrews 4:11-13). There’s a process for repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10-11). His kindness is meant to lead us to it (Romans 2:4-5), and He desires it (2 Peter 3:9-10). Those after God’s heart will do it, and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross will pay the consequence for their sins if they are in Christ (Romans 3:21-26).
Those who don’t admit, repent, and remain outside of Christ will have to pay the consequences of their sins on Judgment Day. Are you ready for that day to come?