A college freshman went to the dorm laundry room with his dirty clothes bundled into an old sweatshirt. But he was so embarrassed by how dirty his clothes were that he never opened the package. He merely pushed it into a washing machine and when the machine stopped pushed the bundle into a dryer and finally took the still-unopened bundle back to his room. He discovered, of course, that the clothes had gotten wet and then dry, but not clean.
God says, “Don’t keep your sins in a safe little bundle. I want to do a thorough cleansing in your life—all the dirty laundry of your life.” – Green, M. P. (Ed.).
David experienced what this young college freshman did. He wanted just to bury his sin instead of unpacking it and deal with it. God has a way of making us come face to face with our mistakes. David lusted after his neighbor’s wife, committed adultery, made the husband drunk, had him killed, and then covered the whole affair for at least a year. He was not a youth when he fell into these sins; he was a mature man, ruling over a great kingdom. David thought he could hide his sins from God and the world, but sin has a nasty way of not playing along. The results of David’s infidelity with Bathsheba is the loss of a child, the death of a trusted faithful soldier and a King having to come before God with a contrite heart. This sorted soap opera type story caused King David to write two Psalms 51 and 32. For the study, we will focus more on Psalm 32.
The Cost of Unconfessed Sin.
When David tried to hide his sins from God he became physically ill and his heart hardened. The danger of not dealing with our sins is that we are forced to push everyone and everything holy out of our lives. Holiness is in direct conflict with sin. So to keep that unconfessed sin in our lives that means there is no room for God, His Word, His follower’s anything that would point us back to God and holiness. Any sense of righteousness has to go.
The effect unconfessed sin has on us, and our conscience is troubling.
- People with a dirty conscience are usually on the defensive, wondering what other people may know. So we push people away to keep sin hidden and to avoid having to face it.
- Sin also affected David’s ears, for he lost the sound of joy and gladness.
- Nothing sounds good to a person out of fellowship with God.
Sin takes a physical toll on the body as well. In vv.1-2, we see that affect it had on David.
- David paid for his sins physically and became ill.
- He lost the purity of his heart (vv. 1–2) and, therefore, needed to be washed and cleansed.
- David’s heart not only became defiled, but it also became hard.
The Healing Power of Confession (v. 5).
So I admitted my sin to you; I didn’t conceal my guilt. “I’ll confess my sins to the Lord,” is what I said. Then you removed the guilt of my sin.
David immediately confessed that he had sinned when Nathan spoke to him (2 Sam. 12:13), but then, privately, he allowed the Spirit of God to uncover his sins one by one. David’s prayer was not a vague, general confession he named his sins clearly and precisely and because he confessed, God forgave.
God’s Forgiveness vs. Human Forgiveness.
Human forgiveness is like an Etch-a-Sketch. You know that when you draw on the Etch-a-Sketch can take the magic wand and wipe the slate clean. However, over time the more you use it, the less you can get rid of the previous drawings. In a way, that describes how we forgive. We never actually forget. We tend to want to hold on the memories of past offenses, maybe is it is our defense mechanisms to avoid being hurt in the future. However, that is not forgiveness. The marks of previous crimes remain, the lines are still there. And over time, we just can’t forget all the pain others have caused.
With God forgiveness is different. When he forgives sin, he keeps no record of wrong. He through Christ’s work on the cross wipes our slate clean. I love how Paul describes it in his second letter to the Church in Corinth, “In other words, God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ, by not counting people’s sins against them. He has trusted us with this message of reconciliation.” Or as the Psalmists writes in Ps 103, “Let my whole being bless the Lord and never forget all his good deeds: how God forgives all your sins, heals all your sickness, saves your life from the pit, crowns you with faithful love and compassion, and satisfies you with plenty of good things, so that your youth is made fresh like an eagle’s.” David discovered what we need to be reminded that God completely wipes our slate clean and removes our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. He places them in the ocean and then places on the beach a no fishing sign.