When I declared not my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to thee, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, I will confess my transgressions to the LORD; then thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:3-5 RSV)
Almost three millennia separate the scandal of King David from the scandal of a modern world leader. Both men possessed the utmost power in their countries. Both enjoyed an enviable level of popularity. Both men committed adultery. In both cases the adultery was consummated in the nations official residence. Where one would have thought to find dignity and respect for the laws of the country there was betrayal and a profound disrespect for an entire nation. In three thousand years the world has turned around so many times, so many things have changed. But, in the depths of our hearts, we are still the same.
What defeated these leaders? A contingent of troops? An entire army? An enemy nation? They were men shielded by the most powerful forces in the world, instated, as all authorities, by God himself. What defeated them was something inside each one their own desire, a lust for something that was not theirs.
Giving in to the enemy in a little thing, in even the smallest desire, is the same as to surrender all. To hand over the control of even a piece of yourself could be the same as handing over the power of a nation. The most powerful man in the world may be defeated by something within himself.
Worse than going through everything they went through, however, would have to be this if they had gotten what they most desired, to hide their transgressions. Thank the Lord they were discovered! Thank the Lord they faced all that shame! Worse than being surrounded by the armies of your worst adversary is to become the hostage of an even greater power within you. Worse than being humiliated publicly before all those who love and admire you is to surrender your life to your worst enemy, invisible, silent, hidden in your own heart.
Thank the Lord they faced all that shame!
God did not reveal the sins of these powerful men because he hated them. God did not shame them publicly, before entire nations, because he wanted to destroy them. God revealed the transgressions of these men because he loved them. God let them go through the worst humiliations of their lives because he wanted to save them. He wants to save us too, each one. Let each one of us look inside and confess to God what we see there. The humiliation and the sense of defeat may seem too great to bear. But awaiting this first defeat is a greater victory still. Sometimes, only when we are defeated can we finally become victorious. Let us go out to the battle.
QUOTE: If we hold our sins inside, hoping to hide them, they fester and poison our whole system. The only one who can do anything about sin is God. Confession is the act that brings our sin out into the open and lets God take care of it. (Eugene H. Peterson Praying with the Psalms, New York: Harper Collins, 1993)
PRAYER: God, we thank you that merely asking for help we have the promise you hear us and attend our request. Give us the courage we need to see and admit our sins and weaknesses, to confess them to you and to let you transform us. We want to be purified and transformed to be able draw closer to you. If in this process we undergo humiliation or personal defeat, we count this as victory if it is to let our Lord Jesus reign forever in our hearts. In the name of Jesus our Lord, we pray. Amen.