Tuesday, May 17, 2011
RECOGNIZING SIN FOR WHAT IT IS
We all try to rationalize away the ugliness of sin by grading it. Some sins like murder are "very bad" while other sins like "white lies" to protect some one's feelings are not quite as bad. However, to our Lord, sin is sin and it is an abomination to Him. Realizing this can keep us from taking this matter lightly.
As we look at the life of David, we know both that he was a "man after God's own heart" but also a man who fell into the sin of adultery followed by murder. How could this be? It started small with a glance from his palace at a beautiful woman. Like a little "white lie", the leaven of sin spread into his soul and led him into deeper evil.
After David was confronted with his sin by Nathan the Prophet, he cried out to God for forgiveness, and we see this in Psalm 51. As you read this Psalm, focus on verses 7-12.
In verse 7, David seeks to be purged with hyssop. A branch of hyssop was used in the ceremonial cleansing of lepers in Leviticus 14:6,7. The hyssop was dipped into the blood of a sacrificed bird and sprinkled upon the leper thus making him clean. Not only does this foreshadow the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ for sin but also shows that David is aware that his sin makes him like an unclean leper. In Bible times, leprosy was a serious disease often leading to death. The second half of the verse asks God to wash David so that he will be whiter than snow. Numbers 19:19 describes the ritual of washing after coming into contact with a dead person. David was familiar with this and likens his sin to being in touch with death. Only God is capable of cleansing him.
Verse 10 of Psalm 51 uses the verb "create". This is the same verb used in Genesis 1:1 where God is creating the heavens and the earth. Here David is acknowledging that only God is able to give him a clean heart and renew him in spirit.
Recognizing that sin utterly separates us from God is evident in verse 11 as David begs God not to cast him far away. How little we often realize that sin keeps us from the relationship we so desperately need not only with God but our fellow man.
Finally in verse 12, David asks the Lord to restore the "joy of Your salvation". He came to realize that he had left his first love when he fell into sin. He took his eyes off the Lord and fixed them on a woman. David went from being a "man after God's own heart" to declaring spiritual bankruptcy in a short period of time. This recognition led him to a great repentance.
There is a sign above my computer which reads: "Joy isn't the absence of sorrow, it's the presence of God." In King David's case, he certainly experienced much sorrow over his sin, the loss of Bathsheba's baby and his broken relationship with God. However, he knew that this was necessary in order to find the joy of a righteous relationship with his creator. He also acknowledged that he wasn't able to restore this in his own power. Only God could do that for him.
When we consider that sin is much like the disease of leprosy which disfigures little by little and can lead to death, we will come to understand our need to walk closely with our Savior Jesus Christ. Little "white lies" seem so innocent when we tell them, but just like David's glance at a beautiful woman, the consequences can be devastating first to our relationship with God and secondly in our relationship with others. May we strive to walk in the Spirit by His Word so that we might not sin against Him. Selah!
Father help us not to trivialize sin in our hearts and lives. Shine the light of Your Holy Spirit into our hearts today so that all sin may be found and confessed. Fill us with Your Spirit that we might bear the fruits of righteousness in our lives to Your glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Have you ever tried to rationalize away sin? How can we keep ourselves from falling into sins...small or large? I welcome your comments and insights.