Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight… Psalm 51:4
Psalm 51 was the prayer of repentance that David prayed after his tragic moral failure with Bathsheba. It is the greatest prayer of repentance in the Bible, and as such is a pattern for all true repentance. The tragedy of David is that he only realised how deep his sin was when he fell into immorality. If only he could have prayed this prayer earlier in his life, he would have avoided all the heartache and pain of this sad phase of his life. In this prayer David expresses his sorrow at the pain he caused God. At first sight we may disagree with David, and exclaim that it was not only God he hurt. He hurt Bathsheba, her husband Uriah, Joab – the captain of the army – and all the nation of Israel! But what David saw in this moment of terrible realisation, is that he had frustrated God’s will and plan for all these people, and in sinning He had hindered the joy that God would have had in blessing them and making their lives bright and fruitful in Him. God’s heart is always broken most whenever there is sin, and it was this realisation that broke David’s heart. It is only repentance that can lead to freedom from sin, and God has the skill to deepen it and cause us to turn to Him for cleansing and power to be free.
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