There is a problem though. Uriah is an honorable man. He cannot bear the thought of indulging in marital bliss with his comrades out on the battlefield. He has no choice but to return home under orders but he decides to resist the charms of his wife.
This of course, spoils David's plan so he opts for Plan B. Uriah is ordered back to the battlefield only this time David gives instructions that Uriah is to be placed in the most dangerous position of all, one where he is sure to be killed. Uriah dies and David marries the bereaved widow, after all he should give care and comfort to the widow of this brave and faithful man, right? Oh my! Bathsheba and David are expecting. That was quick, wasn't it!
The prophet Nathan comes to David and declares God's judgment for this sin. It is not a happy meeting. David is told that the child will die and grief will come upon his household. Unlike King Saul had done when confronted with his sin, David admitted his guilt, repented and sought God's forgiveness.
God granted it but... there were still consequences for David's sin. We have to remember that though we are forgiven, there are times when we must live with some of the consequences of sin.
It was during this time that David wrote Psalm 51.
Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love.- Psalm 51:1-3 (NLT)
Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.
David first recognizes the love and mercy of God. He asks him to cleanse him of his sin. Why? Because David recognizes that he rebelled against God. He is experiencing conviction and he makes no excuses for his behavior. He admits who he is and what he has done.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight.- Psalm 51:4 (NLT)
You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.
I have always found this verse rather interesting. David says nothing about sinning against Uriah or even Bathsheba. Ultimately, we sin against God and God alone. David recognized that and admitted it. He deserved the judgement of God as do we.
Why? David tells us the reason in verse 6.
For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there.- Psalm 51:6(NLT)
Without Christ, this is who we are.
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.- Psalm 51:7-15 (NLT)
Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt.
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you.
Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you.
David seeks forgiveness but he wants more than that. He wants to be purified and restored. He wants to walk in God's ways. He wants to let everyone know of God's forgiveness. This is more than simply saying sorry. This is repentance!
You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering.- Psalm 51:16-19
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
Look with favor on Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings. Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.
There is one sacrifice and one sacrifice alone that God desires. A broken and repentant heart. It is only then that whatever we offer up to God will be acceptable for those are sacrifices offered in the right spirit.
Do we have a broken and repentant heart?