But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of fools. I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for you are the one who has done this. Remove your scourge from me; I am overcome by the blow of your hand. When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin, you consume their wealth like a moth —surely everyone is but a breath. Hear my prayer, LORD, listen to my cry for help; do not be deaf to my weeping. I dwell with you as a foreigner, a stranger, as all my ancestors were. Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again before I depart and am no more.
Here is a hard truth that doesn’t get a lot of press: Even forgiven sin has consequences. The forgiven murderer must spend time behind bars. Gossip continues to make its way around until it gets back to the forgiven gossiper. The forgiven adulterer may experience divorce, a broken family, or the hard work of regaining the love and trust that has been shattered.
In today’s passage David reminds us of the hard truth of forgiveness. The king has sinned and feels the “blow of [God’s] hand.” The rebuke and discipline takes its toll. David asks for relief so that he can enjoy life again.
We need to contemplate that hard truth of forgiveness. We need to be as concerned about consequences before we walk the path of sin as we are about forgiveness after we have sinned. But…even as we experience the cost, our hope is in God alone. He is the only One who can hear our cry for help and carry us through the consequences.
Father, give me wisdom before I sin. Give me forgiveness and strength when I do sin. Give me courage for the discipline so that I can return with a stronger commitment to obey. In Jesus’ name. Amen.