David: Coming Back to God
David fell so far, so fast—he didn’t even realize it until the dullness of his soul spread to every inch of his spiritual life.
Soon his cold heart was combined with his tormented soul and trapped in a painfully chastened body.
David was at the bottom, and he stayed there for almost a year.
Almost a year—did that length of time strike you?
Think of who we are talking about, that fell so far away from the God he so passionately loved and served.
- A man that God talked to directly by way of inspiration;
- a man who knew the indwelling Presence of God the Spirit;
- a man who had the direct line to God’s Throne by way of prophets;
- a man who could enter the very tent of God built to the specs God left;
- a man who had held perhaps the very scrolls Moses had written down;
- a man who may have seen the stone tablets of the law that were kept in the ark;
- a man who had seen God’s supernatural protection month after month in hand to hand combat as David was never defeated on the battlefield—and as far as we know, never even wounded by arrow, sword, spear or sling stone, though there had been tens of thousands pointed at him and held by those who hated him and wanted him dead.
That man who knew God, experienced God’s presence, loved God, sang scores of songs inspired by God, wrote chapters of the eternal Word of God—that man seemed to lose touch with God for a YEAR!
Now, think about yourself.
David knew the same God we know.
David wrote the same Bible we read.
David sang the same songs we sing.
David felt the same closeness we feel and probably even more so that many of us have ever felt.
Yet he stayed away from God for almost a whole year.
Maybe we shouldn’t give up on people so fast. Maybe we shouldn’t stop praying so easily. Maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to write them off and erase them from the group. David spent as much as a year in absolute misery.
What is amazing is that David hid this so well. He went through the motions of being the king. He was God’s leader, he was God’s king. He was still the sweet psalmist of
But all those blessings and benefits meant nothing, like an engine without fuel, an electronic device with no power—David had walked away from God and stayed away for a long time.
But if you were just a casual observer, it looked as if David had gotten by with it.
But always remember one thing: David was God’s man, and God would not let David get by with it. In reality, during the interval when he kept quiet, he was a tormented man. In Psalm 32 we saw what really went on in his heart. David says this: “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long” (Ps. 32:3). If we could have visited the court of David during that nearly year of hidden sin—we would have literally seen David aging before our eyes. The self-inflicted stress of those months was completely debilitating. “For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer” (Ps. 32:4). This describes his feelings during that interval.
A hymn writer once wrote what David must have felt as he responded to God’s heavy hand of chastisement and conviction and repented of his sin and came back to God.
Lord, I’m Coming Home (1898) #341
William Kirkpatrick (1838-1921)
I’ve wandered far away from God, Now I’m coming home;
The paths of sin too long I’ve trod, Lord, I’m coming home.
I’ve wasted many precious years, Now I’m coming home;
I now repent with bitter tears, Lord, I’m coming home.
I’m tired of sin and straying, Lord, Now I’m coming home;
I’ll trust Thy love, believe Thy Word, Lord, I’m coming home.
My soul is sick, my heart is sore, Now I’m coming home;
My strength renew, my hope restore, Lord, I’m coming home.
I need His cleansing blood, I know, Now I’m coming home;
O wash me whiter than the snow, Lord, I’m coming home.
Coming home, coming home, Nevermore to roam,
Open wide Thine arms of love, Lord, I’m coming home.
This morning, if you have ever felt far away from God—you can relate to David.
If you have ever sinned deeply and paid a heavy price—you can relate to David.
If you are here this morning in body only, and your heart like David’s had been, is cold, dull, burdened, and distant—then you can relate to David.
So now as we turn to Psalm 51 we find that it is all about David who went so far away--Coming Back to God.
Psalm 51 stands as a paradigm of prayers for forgiveness of sins. Believers have been comforted by the fact that since David’s sins were forgiven theirs can be too.
The 51st Psalm is a divinely inspired roadmap, clearer than any other map in the world, on the way back to God. David tells us how he found his way back from a cold, distant and tormented heart to immediate joy, relief, peace, and security. Only God offers and provides such a blessing. The power of God is present today to heal you today, if you will like David—come back to God.
To understand that way back to God, turn with me to the 4th Penitential Psalm, the 51st Psalm, and listen as David lays bare his soul and explains how he came back to God.
Just before I read this Psalm and you follow along, I want you to notice the 35 words that I will emphasize while reading this Psalm. Out of the 327 words in these 19 verses there are 35 that all say the same thing. David says “I, me, my” those many times to show that he is personally responsible for his sin.
In fact the lesson of this Psalm and the lesson that will change your direction away from sin and towards God is that ALL SIN is AGAINST GOD, not merely a personal defeat. If you only think that sin is just a defeat you experienced--then sin is manageable, it is just something you learn to live with.
But David saw that sin was against God (v. 4) and David took personal responsibility for his sin (35 times he repeats that it is me, I am guilty)! That is David taking God’s perspective. God says we are sinners.
But when the church has a superficial view of sin, this attitude affects everything the church believes and does. If men and women are basically good and not sinners under the wrath of God, then why preach the Gospel? Why send out missionaries? For that matter, why did Jesus even die on the cross? If people are good, then what they need is counseling and consoling, not convicting; we should give them encouragement, not evangelism. 
This sermon will be continued tomorrow July 3rd.
Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Holy, (
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