THE SECRET HEART OF TRUE CONFESSION
Charles Spurgeon wrote about why true transparency and confession is vital for the Christian life. “A Christian must never leave off repenting, for I fear he never leaves off sinning.” What is Spurgeon saying? Here is an illustration to help us understand….. A college freshman went to the dorm laundry room with his dirty cloths rolled up into a bundle of an old hoodie. Embarrassed by how dirty his cloths are he never opens the bundle but just pushes the clump of dirty clothes into the washer. When the machine stopped, he pushed the bundle into the dryer. Finally, he took the still-unopened bundle of cloths to his dorm room, only to discover that they were not clean. The point to this story for the Christian life is that God says, “Don’t keep your sins in a safe little bundle. Bring them out in the open one by one and confess them so that they may be cleansed.”
Confession of our sins is essential in
the life of the believer.
What Is Confession? The word means “To say the same thing.” Confession is agreeing with God about our sin. It also involves repentance, or a turning away from the sin confessed; meaning no longer wanting to embrace such cosmic treason.
I would say that Psalm 51 is one of the most graphic
demonstration of confession in the entire Bible.
The reason for this Psalm is an open confession of His cosmic treason from his previous moral collapse. David was like that person who tells one lie, and then when confronted, they tell another lie to cover up their original lie; and as time passes on that one lie turned into a multitude of lies. But as Paul said the church at Galatia! “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” The same goes for David and his cosmic treason as he confesses in this Psalm of repentance. This Psalm contains the personal heart of David after his moral collapse as a child of God.
What was David’s moral collapse?
Answer can be found in 2 Sam 11:1:26
He Was Lazy And Stayed Home Instead Of Going Off To War His Men. “But David remained in Jerusalem” (v1) He was supposed to be in battle, not a home lazing around. This is where sin always creeps its ugly head when we are not focused on Christ, but on other things or when were just plain bored.
He Looked Upon A Woman With Lust In His Heart. “Saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman.” (v2-v3) This is one of the number one killers in the life of a man or woman, when it comes to relationships… especially in marriage.
He Committed Adultery “David sent messengers and took her…and he lay with her.” (v4-v5) He took a woman who wasn’t his wife and defiled the covenant marriage bed in the presence of a holy God.
He Committed Murder “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down and die.” (v14-v17) David had Uriah killed because he was so deep in sin; the only thing David could do to hide his wickedness was to have Uriah killed in battle. See! When a person is so desperate and not thinking rationally, they will do anything to make their problems go away!
David tried to hide his sin! But! You can’t hide your sin.... which mean! “You can’t hide your sin forever, especially from Thee Omniscient and Holy God!” As Moses said “Be sure your sin will find you out.” Numbers 32:23 The Apostle Paul said this will be revealed in its rightful time “Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart…..” 1 Cor 4:5. The Hebrew writer says we will all stand naked before Him “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Heb 4:13
What is wrong with the world?
“This was a question an editor of the London Times wrote in his piece about various moral and social ills plaguing the world. The article called for an answer rhetorically from the readers. The best letter mailed to the editor was replied by G. K. Chesterton, who mailed in his answer to that question with this profound statement.”
You asked, “What is wrong with the world?” answer “I am.”
Faithfully yours, G.K. Chesterton
That’s what this Psalm reveals to us about David as he confesses his sin before a holy God. This was David, because the heart of the problem is the sinfulness of man, but it’s also the source of our sin. We are to set watch over our own life. Once sin is made known to his or her heart, confession must follow immediately. As John wrote “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness….” 1 John 1:9-10
Look at the opening remarks that David makes. (v1-v6) “This is a very personal and private plead of repentance to God and what’s amazing is that God left this in His book to demonstrate to us what genuine brokenness over sin looks like and what repentance and forgiveness looks like, when we confess to the Lord on the altar
of His grace and mercy.” This Psalm contains the secret brokenness between a sinner and a holy God. This Psalm reveals that the best of us are not exempt from hidden sin and our sin breaks the fellowship we have with a holy God. This psalm contains the humble prayer for forgiveness and restoration after a massive moral breakdown in one’s life. So massive of a moral breakdown that this Psalm was confessed by David almost a year later. You would think to yourself, that this must have been eating away at David’s conscience. But was it eating away his conscience? Since we see that there is no mention of David mourning Uriah’s death, one of David’s mighty men. “When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD” 1 Sam 11:26-27. There is no mention that David mourned seven days for one of his very best, dedicated soldier, to the king’s army.
So what changed for David to confess
such a graphic Psalm as this?
Answer: God sent man named “Nathan” to confront David for his cosmic treason. We see this encounter in 2 Samuel 12:1-14 (Turn in your Bibles) to this confrontation that exposes David’s secret heart of sin to write this Psalm. The story of the Rich and the poor man angers David and wants justice for the poor man. But Nathan exposes David’s hidden heart that “You are the man” (v7) You’re the rich man that took something that didn’t belong to you. Nathan reminds David that he has everything you could possibly want, and God has blessed you beyond measure, and still you’re not satisfied. 2 Sam 11:7-9
Sounds very familiar to another a confrontation that two people had, except this time it’s not with a man called by God. It is with the Almighty Himself. “But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself." He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" Gen 3:9-11. Then God removes them both from the garden with consequences for their cosmic treason. “To the woman he said, "I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." And to Adam he said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—" therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.” Gen 3:16-24
It took one visit of a man named Nathan, to bring David to his knees, after many months of walking numb to his secret sin. This psalm reveals David’s heart after it was shattered into a million pieces by a man named Nathan.
David Cries For God’s Forgiveness Of His Cosmic Treason (v1-v6)
David pleads with God to blot our remove this sin....Lord cover or remove my transgressions with your mercy and grace. “Transgression” literally means “my rebellion, my rebellion against You O’ God......this is a willing defiance against God and His truth.” David was absolutely crushed by the weight of his sin and his rebellious heart. His conscience pressed guilt from his sin to his mind, so much so that what Nathan revealed to David was an outpouring of guilt and shame.
How do you feel when you rebel against God?
See, we need to realize when you and I sin; we are sinning against the God who gives us our every breath. For David... It’s wasn’t Bathsheba he sin against.
It’s wasn’t Uriah he sinned against. It was the LORD God who David sinned against. (v4) His crime was ultimately against God, and God alone. Though the rippling consequences of David’s sin caused the life a devoted man [Uriah] and his future son to die. David knew it his sin and called it what it was “I sinned” (v4) He fully acknowledged and he didn’t try to justify it as some momentarily lapse of judgement or not some weakness, but wickedness.
Not an accident, but an atrocity.
No shifting of blame… but facing his sin full on and accepting God’s verdict. (v4b) Every one of us is a sinner and in desperately need of His mercy and grace as we see David confessing before a holy and transcendent God. We can learn a lot about our lives and our confession before a holy God. Because David never offered up any lame excuse to God. And neither should we.
A full confession of own guilt
is what is required.
Why? Like David, our problem begins with a corrupt heart. “I was brought forth in sin” (v5) He entered this world as a sinner, long before he became a sinner in action. This action brought David to brokenness because he feed his natural and sinful passions when he gazed upon Bathsheba. And this revealed that David was living a lie before God, trying to attempt to cover up his own sinful behaviour. David didn’t want this anymore “You teach me wisdom in the secret heart” (v6) He pleads to God. Meaning? O LORD, You lead me to act honestly and openly with my sin against God. Only a fool would try and hide his sin before a holy God..
“Sin is like a seed planted in the soil, it can only survive
if you feed it and water it.” Sin affects everything about you! The way you speak, the way you act, how you respond to others and life circumstances, and how you live daily! David couldn’t take it anymore....the pressure, the stress, the anxiety was too overwhelming for him to handle. The guilt and shame was eating at this man. His sin brought him to a place of true confession. Which leads to genuine repentance?
David Was Broken In Confession Of Sin (v7-v10)
He pleads with God to “purge” these broken bones that LORD broke in him! (v7-v8) “Purge” means to “atone or cleanse” with “Hyssop” which is a leafy plant that the Old Testament priest used to sprinkle blood or water in a ceremony to cleanse a person from defilement…such as leprosy or touching a dead body. A prime example of this is when the Lord told the Israelites to apply blood with hyssop to their doorposts for the Passover. Exodus 12:1-28
David asks God to remove the stains of his sins
while bringing spiritual renewal at the same time.
David felt defiled for his sin and wanted the Lord to thoroughly cleanse him from his sin. (v7b) (That statement alone blows me away) This is how I felt when the gospel was revealed to my blackened heart. The gospel revealed that Mike Andrews was lacking, because I was a defiled man, who needed to be cleansed thoroughly. Jesus Christ some 2000 years ago did that exact thing for me, and you, on the cross of Calvary. Jesus Christ cleansed, “purged our sin” with His precious blood and applied it to your defiled and unclean body. As the Apostle Paul wrote “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” Rom 5:6-10
This what gospel did for you,
me, and David.
But David doesn’t just stop there he goes on to say “create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me” (v10) Take this black, defiled and wretched heart and make me new, since my sin is ever before me. Cleanse me even though I’ve been corrupted since birth and renew me a steadfast spirit so that I don’t fall into this wickedness again. Basically what David is saying “Gives me a holy frame of mind and remove this sin, so that I won’t be easily shaken or cast down by the next temptation?” Remember! Sin never comes to fruition until the temptation is followed through. David was broken over the sin that overtook him through the temptation of a woman who was bathing outside her door. David is broken over the sin which brings him to repentance!
Which is a turning away from; not I’ll continue going down
the same road and see what happens the next time.
Genuine repentance…. is a complete turning from the sin getting off the closet off-ramp and going the other way! That’s not to say that you won’t be faced with this type of thing in the future on a different road. What I am saying is “In order to find victory over sin we must come to the Lord with a genuine desire and passion to kick this sin to the curb.” Genuine repentance! Not worldly repentance, which leads to death as Paul spoke about to the Corinthian church. 2 Cor 7:10. Worldly repentance means nothing and its superficial. “A hermit once, having renounced the world and lost all things, yet found no peace. It seemed to him in his lonely cell that the Lord asked something more. “But I gave you everything!” said the hermit. “All but one thing” answered the Lord. “What is it Lord?”.....the Lord answered “Your sins.”
David demonstrates for us the desire for a pure heart so that he would not fall back into sin. David feared so much so, that he pleads with God not remove His divine power from David’s life. (v11) Now! This isn’t a plea that the true believers ever need to fear of losing. But! Do you realize that? You can grieve, quench.....but never lose the Spirit! Paul said “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption” Eph 4:30. David was pleading for the Spirit to continue to work in him as the king to lead his nation forward. This was a special Holy Spirit anointing given to David, which is how the Spirit worked in the Old Testament as God worked through His people.
This Psalm is why I’m amazed and hopeful every day that He hasn’t destroyed us all already. It amazes me that He even decided to save anyone. Like David, I know I deserve the death penalty for my past cosmic treason.
This sobering reality is what brought
David to his confession.
We cannot save ourselves from the wrath that is reserved for those who are not saved through the gospel. David desired was to be in right standing with God out of adoration and obedience, despite his previous moral breakdown.
Not out of a life of duty of the cycle of
“sin confess...sin confess.” (v12-v17)
God did not desire only an animal sacrifice or burnt offering from him for his sin. The sacrifice that God required were a “broke and a contrite heart” (v17) It’s humility before God and a genuine brokenness over sin, are expressions of a genuine confession. God desires you and me to walk in the light where He is; and to stay away from the darkness that lurks outside the doors of our heart.
David wanted to communicate this truth with the desire that sinners would turn back to God by acknowledging and forsaking their sin. (v13) Our communion with God should be our motivator each and every day as we face the day’s temptations and trials of life.
I’m talking about that deep rooted fellowship that
supersedes everything else in your life.
But in order for that to happen, we need to be like David and confess our sins to Him, who is just to forgive us of our sins. So Let Me Ask You! Is there sin in your life today that you know you haven’t confessed to Him? David’s sin was David’s sin…but what about you? Is your secret heart filled with unconfessed sin to a holy God? Is there sins of anger, bitterness, discontentment in your heart? Is there anger towards someone or something that has happened to you? Is there conflict in your heart that needs confession? Are you broken or do you feel broken when you sin against the God who spoke all things into existence and declared it good?
Do you even care about your sin?
If your answer is NO! Then you truly don’t know what it means to be broken over your sin which is an offence to a holy God. And you truly don’t have a heart that is ready for repentance….yet! But don’t’ be surprised when a Nathan comes knocking on your door one day. But if your answer is YES and you have been following along in this message and it’s made you angry! Not because of me, but because of your own sin. That’s good! Now all you lack is repentance.
God is breaking you and humbling you to a place of
repentance as He did to David in this Psalm.
Steve Lawson said “Instead of hardness of heart, there must be brokenness, or a shattering of ego and a crushing of pride. The hardened soil of the soul must be broken up if it is to receive God’s commands and respond to Him. Rather than self-exaltation, there must be a contrite heart, one that is crushed and lowered in the presence of God.
As Jesus said "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 5:3. This is the promise we received in the gospel of His salvation. This is why Paul could pen these words. This is why David sought the LORD in restoration. “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” Rom 8:32. The highest blessing through His Son, we will reign with Him in His Kingdom, be comforted by His forgiving grace, and receive a place at His table. Let us cloth ourselves with humility as we confess to God. Because what we learn from David’s mistake and renewal, is that the Lord opposes the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.
Genuine brokenness over sin produces
genuine confession of the hidden heart.
As Thomas Watson said “There is no rowing to paradise except upon the stream of repenting tears.”
“a broken a contrite heart, O God,
you will not despise.” (v17)