How To Get Forgiveness From God
Robert Wurtz II
Our passage is a small, but vital part of the story of king David’s sin in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. He had stayed home when the kings went off to war in the house that Hiram the king of Tyre had built for him. (Ezekiel 28:14-19) He wist not that he was being set up of the enemy. The subtle and seemingly insignificant voices and choices of his life had brought David to a baited-snare prepared by the Devil. He saw Bathsheba, called her to his room, and a terrible series of sins ensued. The sordid details of the events are recorded in 2 Samuel 11:1-17.
I was at a conference a number of years ago and an opportunity was given to share a confession with the people. In fact, it was streaming live all over the world. Feeling pricked in my heart I went up as I have done many times over my Christian life to acknowledge that I was not as perfect as I sometimes projected by my actions. Some brothers prayed with me and others who did likewise. As is typical of these events, there were some who viewed it as an occasion to criticize and condescend. I was quite upset about it and determined to never be vulnerable like that again. However, over the years I have come to realize that the enemy was trying to use this situation (and others like it) to harden my heart before God. Satan does not like it when we are self-loathing (for lack of a better term) and sensitive before the Lord. He wants us to proudly carry on as if we are perfect before God so that the world “will never see us sweat.” Can you imagine how many people were lined up to throw a stone at king David? They may have had two or three mistresses on the side themselves; but if people were then as they are today they would have stoned him with lipstick on their own collar.
How could a person be so callous that they would send someone to jail for doing the very thing they did — only they didn’t get caught? This, to me, is one of the many reasons why hell is going to be so hot. Like the man forgiven of a fortune Matthew 26:28 who then went and took his neighbor by the throat over a few coins. “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?” (Romans 2:1–3 KJV) In spite of all of these things we have an obligation to confess our sins before the Lord. If our sin is known publically it should be confessed to the extent that it is known. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”
(Proverbs 28:13 KJV)
Cover Up and Denial
When the “writing is on the wall” and a person still will not own up to their wrong doing — we call that “denial.” It is an ancient sin traced to Cain and his evasive and contemptuous answers when confronted by God. The Lord knows that this is often a human reaction to sin. Cover-up and then deny. It can last for hours, days, weeks and years. It all depends on when the guilty decide to change their mind about their behavior and justify God instead of themselves. All the evidence in the world cannot secure a confession if the person is not prepared to admit. Many variables weigh in on this stubbornness. We simply don’t want to admit that we could do something so dishonorable.
King David was an unusual case because he held the power to kill his accusers. Shockingly, he had already demonstrated he was willing to kill to cover up his sin (i.e. he had Uriah killed). In fact, Joab knew David so well that he anticipated exactly what he would say to the messenger that gave the details of the losses in battle. He armed the messenger with these words, thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also. To this David was pleased and replied, Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him. Imagine a man that should have been livid at the negligence of one of his leaders actually encouraging him. Joab knew something was up.
David had to be sweating bullets. And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. (2 Samuel 11:26, 27) David has a problem though, this all looks very suspicious. His own conscience would have smitten him to no end, but he is also living with the daily fear of discovery. What did he say later? “For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.” (Psalms 32:4 KJV) That is a verse to a song! Could you imagine singing a hymn about being under conviction of the Holy Spirit? Maybe we should do it.
This design is that the person would “hear” and “hearken.” This is to agree with what is said. This is the best case scenario; the person acknowledges what they have done and there is reconciliation. We then read, But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. This is God’s way of applying the pressure to the person so that they are brought face to face with the facts in the case.
Common sense tells us that if a person has to come to this point, they will probably only acknowledge their offense under pressure and the chance of it being genuine is diminished. It is from here a small step to stage three, And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. This is direction also for what would later come to be known as “church discipline.” However, the principals are still in play. If a person transgresses and does not repent — there is a stoppage of the process. There can be no going forward unless this situation is made right. If the person will not “hear” the church (refuses to hear Gk. parakousēi). Many papyri have examples for ignoring, disregarding, hearing without heeding, hearing aside (para-), hearing amiss (Robertson). what should we do?”… let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican (Matthew 18:17).
David deserved death, but because he acknowledged his sin, God put away his sin. He would have to face the consequences of his actions, but he was back in a right standing with God. No more running. No more hiding. No more cover-ups, lying, or evading. He confessed; the world knew it; and he could go forward. What a glorious thing! In the writing of Psalm 51 his repentance became as notorious as his sin. As he ran he slowly dried up inside; but he cried out to God and found a faithful God that forgives and puts away sin. God restored the joy of his salvation. Confession; that is, agreeing with what God has said about our sin is the first step back to Him for the sinner or the fallen saint. No matter how difficult it is and no matter how many naysayers line up to throw the first stone, we have to keep our eyes on God. Forget what people think and say. What has God said? If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Amen.