One of the scariest things God has told me in His word is this, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick, who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9 This was the prophet's assessment of the society he was commissioned by God to speak to for Him, but its no less true today of every human heart. Jesus said it isn't what you eat that defiles your spirit but what comes out of your mouth. It originates in your heart. The Bible is peppered throughout with similar statements about my heart. In the Bible, the word "heart" rarely refers to the blood pump in our chest, it refers to the seat of emotions, the place where we weigh information, debate alternatives and make decisions. It is the place where love is born and grows. It is also the birthplace of anger, greed, lust, hate, jealousy and that whole dark-side family.
David knew both sides of his heart very well. He seems to have had a difficult time with forgiveness and leaned more toward revenge and retribution, even with his own offspring. He grieved over the death of Absalom, after the fact, but doesn't seem to have made any effort to communicate a father's love to him. I always have to be very careful to not judge David by my own standard of morality because God has forever put him in the company of the faithful at Hebrews 11:32. That indicates to me that I don't have all the information God has. If God has forgiven and blessed David, I have no right to condemn him. He only affirms the truth of Jeremiah's statement about the human heart.
David's humble song of repentance is my prayer too. Near the end of it he wrote, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." Psalm 51:17 Getting there took nearly a year for David. He lived all those days with his back to God, going his own way, listening to the dark side of his heart. This was new territory for David, a place of separation from the God he had loved and praised all his life. I seriously doubt he wrote any songs of praise to God during that time. God waited patiently for David to reach the point of honest repentance on his own. It didn't happen. So, out his great love for David, God sent the prophet Nathan to confront him directly, VERY directly. Finally his heart was broken and he turned back to face God in the transparent way God honors.
Yesterday we saw that God chose David because he was a man "after God's own heart". Sin didn't change that because God always knew David's heart and how he would respond to His grace. But He had to get David to the point of absolute, honest repentance or his sin would multiply in his heart and he would be in danger of living out the rest of his life from that dark side.
What a Father our God is. His grace is always greater than our sin, all of it. He will never quit working to get us to that same transparency before Him because He loves us in spite of what we do. That love is the only power that can free us from the control of the enemy who works tirelessly to drag us away from our Father's house. A broken and contrite heart may not be an easy road sometimes but it is the only way to hear joy again and sing HALLELUJAH!