Part of David’s restoration after his fall into sin was the restoration of his joy in God.
This post is part of my book launch, God’s Triumphant Mercy: A Reflection of Psalm 51 . . .
. . . let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Sin and guilt are joy-killers. They zap our spiritual vitality, especially our joy in God. Throughout this psalm, we see David’s brokenness in response to his sins: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (v. 17). That is a mark of true repentance. The contrast is Pharaoh, who only “repented” in order to escape the difficult circumstances. He wasn’t broken for his sins; he just wanted relief.
God didn’t leave David to himself. He pursued him through Nathan and there was a turning point—confession and repentance. However, God did strongly rebuke him: “Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites” (2 Sam. 12:9). God didn’t take his sins lightly, nor did they come without any consequences.
In the midst of his brokenness, David implored: “Let the bones that you have broken rejoice.” Why was that his plea? Did he just want relief from the heart-wrenching struggles and have a joy, expelling all the realities of his sins? I don’t think so. Rather, David knew that a lack of joy would cause a deep despair.
Paul expressed that as follows: “So you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him” (2 Cor. 2:7-8). Isn’t that a beautiful picture of God? He wants us to know and experience His forgiveness.
David knew that only God could affirm His love and forgiveness. He also knew that only He could cause him to rejoice amidst the broken pieces of his life—by having a true sense of His forgiveness and a corresponding joy in His grace. He had to let him do so. God had to bring it about!
While we may not have committed adultery and murder, at least not with our actions, we also have sinned and deserve God’s righteous judgment. He, however, is “good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love” to all who call upon Him (Ps. 86:5). Jesus once said: “Whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37). We can always flee to Him when we’ve fallen into sin.
David’s forgiveness and restoration are a great encouragement to everyone. Let’s also pray for God to let us rejoice amidst our brokenness. If He already forgave us, will He not also answer that prayer?
Heavenly Father, please reaffirm Your love and grace toward me.
The Devotional Writer
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