Jump Start # 3381
2 Samuel 12:13 “Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.’”
Our verse comes after the difficult conversation a prophet had with a king. Nathan, the prophet, was sent by God to confront the king, David. The list of sins had grown very long. Adultery. Drunkenness. Murder. Coverup. Deception. David was guilty and David wasn’t doing anything. He was living with his sin.
Nathan begins the conversation with a story. A rich shepherd stole the neighbor’s only lamb. That injustice brought anger to David. Such a person deserves to die, the king uttered. Nathan was clear. You are that person. It’s not a lamb that you stole, but someone’s wife.
This is where our verse comes in. David responds with, “I have sinned against the Lord.” How honest, humbling and needful those words are. The core definition of the word “confess” means to speak the same thing. We understand that with echoes. You say, “hello,” and off in the distance, you hear, “hello.” It is speaking the same thing. Had you said, “Hello,” and then you heard, “Goodbye,” you best run. That’s not the same thing as you said.
Much too often it seems that today people want to add the qualifier, “If” to their confession. “If I have offended someone, I am sorry.” Or, “If I have hurt the church, I am sorry.” And that word “if” cheapens the confession. What if no one was offended? Then are you no longer sorry? Are you only apologetic if someone was hurt or offended? Notice David’s words. I have sinned against the Lord. It doesn’t matter whether you were offended, hurt or the church was. The sin is against God.
David did not soften his confession by saying, “I made a mistake.” He said, “I have sinned.”
Some only confess because they got caught.
Some confess just to escape punishment, especially from the church.
Some confess just to satisfy the people in the pews.
David confessed to God. Here’s how that is done:
First, we must recognize that what was done is sin. Use the Bible words. Iniquity. Transgression. Sin. Not mistake. Not simply having a bad day. More than poor judgment. It is sin. When we confess we must speak the same thing as God does. Sin is not ok. Sin is never ok. It doesn’t matter what the other person did, you can’t make sin right by blaming others or hiding behind an excuse.
Second, David pointed his confession to God. He didn’t apologize to Nathan. He didn’t write a quick “I’m sorry,” that he had someone else read. His sin was against the Lord and it was to the Lord that he confessed. Getting others to forgive us is not the same as the Lord forgiving us. Our sin may be forgiven by others but we still must seek the forgiveness of God. All sin is against God.
Third, although he admitted his sin, David didn’t hide from the consequences. He would have died had the Lord not forgiven him. Some have it that they want to say that they are sorry, but they don’t want any consequences. When it comes to being in trouble with the law, confessing I’m sorry while maintaining an innocent plea doesn’t fit well with most. If one is saying he did it, why is he maintaining he is not guilty? Those don’t match. David understood punishment follows sin. One can be forgiven and still face the consequences.
If I have sinned, sounds like a person doesn’t know if they have sinned or not. They are not ready to confess until they understand what they have done to the Lord. Confession needs to be genuine and not pressured or forced. Confession ought to lead to a change in life. Sorrow leads to godly confession which in turn leads to a more godly life.
Notice also, David said, “I have sinned” before Nathan. He didn’t wait for a private moment alone. He didn’t say, “I’ll take care of this later,” or, “I’ll take care of this in my own way.” Before the prophet he uttered, “I have sinned.”
His heart was broken. He was contrite. God knows those things. Those are the very things that catch the attention of God.
I have sinned against the Lord—pure words from a heart that longs to be pure.