To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 Blessed is he who considers the poor; the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.
2 The LORD will preserve him and keep him alive, and he will be blessed on the earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies.
3 The LORD will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed.
4 I said, “LORD, be merciful to me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.”
5 My enemies speak evil of me: “When will he die, and his name perish?”
6 And if he comes to see me, he speaks lies; his heart gathers iniquity to itself; when he goes out, he tells it.
7 All who hate me whisper together against me; against me they devise my hurt.
8 “An evil disease,” they say, “clings to him. And now that he lies down, he will rise up no more.”
9 Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.
10 But You, O LORD, be merciful to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them.
11 By this I know that You are well pleased with me, because my enemy does not triumph over me.
12 As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, and set me before Your face forever.
13 Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.
Here’s an interesting twist, in verse four he says, “LORD, be merciful to me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.” Then in verse 12 his appeal to God is based on his integrity. How does that work? In the space of eight verses he goes from a sinner begging for mercy to a man of integrity claiming God’s favor. Where was his integrity when he was committing the sin in the first place? Does this mean that his integrity before God was something to take off and put back on again as casually as some kind of raincoat? Seeing how it was God who called David “A man after My own heart”, I don’t believe it is that, but rather instead, it was his willingness to admit his sin and ask forgiveness in a public document that would still be around thousands of years after he and anyone directly affected by his sin were long dead that makes him a person of integrity. One of the chief differences that we see between David and Saul is that when Saul was confronted by Samuel with his sin, he made excuses, but when David was confronted by Nathan, he repented and wept bitterly over it. Integrity, at least in this case, doesn’t mean never making a mistake, rather it means when you do make a mistake, you own up to it.
I think it is also worth taking from this, that when we do stray, no matter how far away we get, or how long we are gone, when we come to the point of genuine repentance, the return journey is just that fast. Amen and Amen.