February 23, 2011


Psalm 51

I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Psalm 51:3


What made David a “better sinner” in God’s eyes? I hope you can find time today to read 2 Samuel 12—where Nathan confronts David, and David realizes his sin and confesses to God.

When people try to cover over their sin, the worst thing that can happen is that the cover-up might work. If their alibis somehow check out, their lies go undetected, and any possible witnesses are somehow silenced, the guilty can maintain a brittle hypocrisy for years. Recovery groups call it “denial.”

Fortunately God loved David far too much to let that happen, so he allowed all of David’s deceits to unravel. Eventually the prophet Nathan came to confront him.

God steadily pressed David toward his breaking point, eventually bringing him to surrender. David’s denial needed to give way so he could acknowledge his trouble and start looking again to a power greater than himself, a power rooted in the grace of his loving God. Things had never looked worse for David. Or better.

He surrendered quickly, falling in repentance before the God he’d been ignoring. He didn’t get caught up in defensive explanations or try to blame others. Psalm 51 gives us a glimpse of the complete surrender he made so that God could draw him toward recovery.

God, we know our transgressions. Help us repent, and create in us a clean heart, we pray. Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at www.squintforgod.com.

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