"Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy steadfast love; according to Thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!"

Psalms 51:1-2, RSV 


It is good to read the word of God, for it has the ability to give us hope and instruction during even the darkest hours of our lives. The 51st Psalm is penned by David after he has committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband Uriah murdered.


Adultery and murder! It really doesn't get much worse than that, does it? Yet as we read this Psalm we find that God can and will even forgive us of these vile sins... if we will only repent in His way.


While this news is marvelous to all who have sinned for it gives us hope and knowledge that our sin can also be forgiven, we must also remember something else about this sin: It had terrible physical consequences! Even though David and Bathsheba were forgiven, they did not escape the physical consequences of their misdeeds.


First, the child that was a product of their adulterous activity, died. Now we all know that the child had done nothing wrong, but in this instance God chose as part of their punishment the taking away of their son. And it was a big deal to them, as we read in other parts of the Old Testament of David's pleading for the child's life and of his grief throughout this ordeal. Sin has consequence, often upon those who are most innocent - it's one of the things that makes sin, sin.


David's other punishment also affected the lives of the innocent. Years later, God allowed David's son Absalom to rebel against his father's kingdom in an almost unimaginable way. David was driven out of Jerusalem and Absalom raped ten of David's wives. Then he went to war with David, costing numerous lives of numerous innocent men. Again, this was part of David's punishment and, again, it shows that sin is sin because it has consequences - often upon those who are completely innocent of the sin that was committed.


So what can we learn from these events of David's life? First, that sin has consequences! Sin is not sin because God is capricious and does not want us to have a good time. No, God reveals that sin is sin in large part because of what it can do to the innocent, not to mention the guilt that flows upon those who have committed the sin in the first place.


But, it is the other lesson that we want to really stress, and that is that sin can be forgiven if we will only repent on God's terms. This is the wonderful truth that David learned during his life under the time of the Old Law, and it is the wonderful truth that can also set us free under the terms of the New Law that we find ourselves under in the era in which we live.


How can we be sure that God will forgive even our worst sins? Just consider the path to forgiveness that was available even to those who had crucified God's only begotten Son... for if He would forgive even that sin, He will forgive ours... if we will only come back to Him on His terms!


"Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "What shall we do?"

And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."...

So those who accepted his message were baptized... and the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Acts 2:36-38, 42, 47, RSV


Today is the fifteenth day of the 30 day challenge to read through the Old Testament books of wisdom, with Psalms 51-60 being the reading for today. May God richly bless your efforts as you seek to find His instruction on sin and salvation in order that you may enjoy the freedom that comes from the forgiveness of sins!