Have you ever experienced that time in your life when you had done wrong and were so depressed that you were close to just giving up trying? You hated what you had done. Do you feel as if there is no salvation for someone like you?
It was not always that way, for each of us have vivid memories of other times when we felt so close to God. There was great joy. There was peace. There was thanksgiving. At such times, we could hardly imagine how life could get any better.
David had these same experiences. He had great joy when those tribes who did not support him to be king came to him pledging their loyalty to him. He then defeated the Philistines. He had captured Jerusalem and moved the Ark of the Covenant to the holy city. His armies were defeating all nations around them. He had joy!
All of this began to change when he failed to lead his army in battle. David stayed home and, standing on the roof of his palace, watched Bathsheba bathing. The events which followed are well known—the “pleasure” of forbidden sin, the pregnancy, the attempt to deceive Bathsheba’s husband, the death of that husband, the period of grieving for the dead husband, and then the marriage. Then it happened!
“Thou art the man!” How these words must have shaken King David to the very core of his heart. The sin which he had so skillfully hidden from men was about to become known. It was to be recorded for all of mankind to know. He was the man—not the one whose purity of heart was like the heart of God, but one whose heart had “…despised the commandment of the Lord to do evil” (2 Sam. 12:9).
The heading to Psalm 51 indicates that this psalm was likely written shortly after Nathan’s words, “Thou art the man.” He begged God to “…blot out my transgressions, wash me thoroughly from my sin… purge me… wash me… do not cast me away… deliver me” (Psa. 51:2-14). But perhaps the most meaningful words showing the nature of all sin are, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.”
There is no joy worthy to be compared to the joy in our hearts the day we became Christians. I have seen this joy on the faces of hundreds who had just been baptized. Remember the day of your salvation and the joy you had. David had that same joy, but sin had snatched it from him. Is there any despair to be compared to that when we have wronged God?
Is there a way to restore that joy? Absolutely. This is why David asked God for its restoration. God longs for you to be in heaven. David sinned—we all do. David lost his joy—we all have. David’s joy was restored—we, too, can regain that joy!