Conviction - Week of April 12th

By Judy Nichols

April 12, 2015

When David sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba and then conspired to have her husband killed in battle to cover it up, God sent the prophet Nathan to confront him. God wanted David to know for sure that, even if no one else knew about his sin, He knew it. And while the judgment was harsh – Bathsheba’s child died and the division of the kingdom was foretold – it still was utterly merciful of God to give David a chance to repent. He could justly have struck him dead on the spot.

Why should God give any of us a second chance? It might be tempting to think, "Well, my sin isn’t as bad as David’s. I haven’t committed adultery and murder." But when we think of Jesus’ words from the sermon on the mount, we are brought up short. "I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court" and "I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matt. 5: 22, 28). Who hasn’t been angry with someone or called them a derogatory name? What man has never entertained a lustful thought? Sin is a serious matter, and not just sinful actions, but also sinful thoughts and motives. And sin today is just as offensive to God as it ever was.

So why does God give us a second chance? He gives us a second chance for the same reason we discipline our children for willful disobedience – because He loves us and doesn’t want us to be estranged from Him. In fact, God’s desire is that all people would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). How utterly tragic that there are many who never do! It will break God’s heart to send them to eternal judgment. "‘As I live!’ declares the Lord God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live’" (Ezek. 33:11).

And turn David did. With the simple acknowledgment, "I have sinned against the Lord" (2 Sam. 12:13), David accepted the consequences of his actions and later wrote Psalm 51 expressing his deep contrition and desire to be made pure. Remembering that the sacrifices prescribed in the Law were for unintentional sin, he penned the words, "You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise" (Ps. 51:16-17). He knew there was nothing he could do to make right his offenses before God. Indeed, he began his psalm with the words, "Have mercy on me, O God" (v.1).

When God called to the now-sinful Adam in the garden, "Where are you?" it wasn’t because He didn’t know where Adam was or what he’d done. It was because He wanted Adam to know he was missed, wanted, and sought. May we never view God’s conviction (whether by means of the Holy Spirit or another person) as a guilt trip, but rather as an invitation to restoration by the Lover of our souls. "Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you . . . He waits on high to have compassion on you" (Isa. 30:18).

© Judy Nichols 2015

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