Run, Don't Walk, to God

by Wayne Barber

As we journey into this new year, it's wonderful to know that God grants to us the grace to repent of sin which will inevitably catch up with us at some time or another. Before we were saved, we chased after sin, but after salvation sin chases after us. Sometimes it catches us (cf. Gal. 6:1).

Psalm 51 is a wonderful reminder of God's grace and how He allows us to repent of our sin! The background of this Psalm is David's adultery with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11-12). But his sin didn't stop there. Upon learning she was expecting his child, David also technically murdered her husband, Uriah, by ordering that he be put on the front lines so that he would surely die in battle. This happened. Then the prophet Nathan went to David and told him the story of a man who took the only little ewe lamb a poor man had and slaughtered it for a feast for his friends. This made David livid and he demanded to know who this was that did such a terrible thing. Nathan pointed a finger at David and said, "you are the man." It was then that David saw what he had done.  

In his response to his sin, in Psalm 51, we learn that we can and should be totally honest with God concerning our sin. If you, as a believer, are trapped and caught in a sin, there is hope! Look with me at a couple of verses: In verse 1, David doesn't run from God but instead runs to God. So many people make the mistake of running from God! They go to the wrong sources for help—a bottle, or another woman, or whatever, instead of running to God! "Be gracious to me O God, according to Your lovingkindness," David implores. "According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions."

He approached God on the basis of God's character. You see, David knew, way back in the Old Covenant, something that many of us in the New Covenant have missed: God is good all the time! Romans 2:4 tell us that it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. In asking God to be gracious to him, David had no thought of pleading innocent to the sins he had committed. "Gracious" means to be merciful—and mercy is after the fact! David said, "God, I admit my guilt! I deserve death!  Oh, please be gracious to me!" Can you hear his pain? 

What is it that David knows about God? He adds, "according to your lovingkindness" "Lovingkind-ness" is a covenant word, a relationship word. The idea conveyed in the Hebrew is of a small hurting animal crying out to a large beast that is so tender it moans over it's hurting little one. David is appealing to God on the basis of God's character! He knows intuitively of the awesomeness of God's kindness. God's kindness and mercy are like an artesian well, ever supplying our need of forgiveness! Then David adds, "according to the greatness of your compassion!"—which again expresses God's tender heart towards His people.

The verse concludes with David's plea that God will: "blot out my transgressions." Oh, God, please erase my sin! Erase the debt that my sin has incurred, which has injured our fellowship. "Transgres-sions" not only implies the wrong done but refers to the rebellious attitude behind it. There are three words in the Hebrew text that refer to sin. All of them imply the wrong done but each says something different in painting a picture of what sin is. "Transgressions" refers to the rebellious attitude towards God by the one committing the sin. "Iniquity" speaks of the inner sickness and wickedness of the flesh. And "sin" refers to the specific act committed. David knows his sin was a deliberate act of rebellion against God.  But, now he runs to the God who is kind, who is compassionate, and who can erase the ruin of their fellowship. 

When sin is unconfessed, the pain is in the ruin of fellowship with God! It makes us feel dirty. David says in verse 2: "Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin." David is referring not just to the act but also to the inner sickness of his sinful flesh! "Wash me!" Isn't it wonderful that in the New Covenant we have been washed in the blood of Christ from within! "Cleanse me" There are two words for cleansing. The word translated "wash" is inward. "Cleanse" means outward cleansing. Oh, God, rid me of this filth in my life: inwardly, so that I won't desire to do it again; and outwardly, so I will not do it again. 

David ran to God! He knew God's character and he knew that only God could cleanse him of his sin.  He admitted his sin and trusted the mercy and grace of God to wash him of his sin and guilt. In this next year, when sin catches you in its snare, don't run from God, but run to Him. Admit your sin! Only in Him will you find the cleansing you so long for! Only He grants His children the grace of repentance.

Wayne Barber is senior pastor of Hoffmantown Church
in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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