Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
— Psalm 51:2
There is an inevitable sadness connected with sin. Theologian Clarence McCartney reminds us of David, a man after God’s own heart and the beautiful Psalm-singer of Israel. But who is this that we see lying prostrate on the ground in the dust, weeping out his penitential tears and crying to God for mercy: “Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take away Your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11); “… all my bones are out of joint; … My strength is dried up like a potsherd” (Psalm 22:14, 15).
Is that you, David? You, the man after God’s own heart? Can it be? Is that you—the one who watched over your father’s flocks as a young shepherd and so courageously killed the lion and the bear? Is that you, David, who with your sling destroyed that blasphemer, Goliath? Is that you, David, who with your lyre drove out the evil spirit from King Saul?
Alas, it is you, O, David. What sorrowful sight is this that the one who was the man after God’s own heart should thus be brought low, covered with sadness and impurity. Let us mourn over him: this adulterer, this murderer; this one who has cast himself in shame; this one who has been told that because of his sin the sword shall never depart from his household; this one who weeps because he knows that his own sin has plunged the knife into the body of his infant child.
In the end, David discovered mercy and forgiveness from the Lord, while the consequences of his sins remained.