This is one of those verses that I always use to struggle with. The Psalm was written by David concerning the incident he had with Bathsheba, her husband Uriah, and the confrontation afterwards with Nathan the prophet. As a result of the incident, Bathsheba became pregnant and Uriah was murdered. So when we read David’s declaration to God, “Against You, You only, have I sinned,” some folks wonder, “What in the world is going on; what about Bathsheba and poor Uriah?”
It’s here that some pastors teach that Bathsheba was partially at fault for bathing nakedly on the roof, the implication being that she knew exactly what she was doing. I might agree with that, but we must keep in mind that the text doesn’t say that’s what she did. Frankly, it’s unfair to place any guilt on Bathsheba’s head [regarding what happened that day], because the Bible does not provide us with that information. Her guilt [if any] is speculation on our part.
And what about Uriah? What part did he play; can anyone say he is partially at fault for his own murder? You would probably agree that it would be a stretch to make that accusation.
Or Would It?
The truth of the matter is that while we don’t have any evidence to link Bathsheba and Uriah to the crime, [thus making them the clear victims], they are not innocent. What do I mean by that? I mean that while they did nothing (apparently) to bring about David’s sin, they themselves are still sinners. Fact is, we’re all sinners from the moment we are conceived. Later on in this same Psalm, David points that out.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.. Psalm 51:5
So what is David actually saying when he boldly declares to the Father, “Against You, You only, have I sinned.”
David is acknowledging three things. First, that crimes are committed against the innocent. Second, that nobody is completely innocent except for God. And finally, only the innocent (in this case God) can declare judgment.
There is none righteous, no, not one …They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one. Romans 3:10
But wait you say, “That’s not true. I went to court and was judged for an offense and that judge (according to what the Bible says) was not innocent!”
True, but the ruling of that judge was not to condemnation. In other words, that judge (no judge) can say, “Bailiff, take that man directly to Hell!” Read the verse again.
Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight– That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. Psalm 51:4
The key point David is making is not that his sins are against God alone, but rather that because of God’s perfect innocence; His perfect blamelessness, He alone is just to speak and impose punishment. Bathsheba, Uriah, Nathan, or anyone else for that matter ~ because of their sinful condition ~ cannot judge another unto condemnation. Let’s face the reality of Uriah’s death—because he was born a sinner, he deserved to die.
There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another? James 4:12
Am I saying that David had the right to murder Uriah? Not at all. I’m saying that we’re all sinners and we all deserve to die. Thankfully, and graciously, Jesus stepped in and paid the price for our sin and died in our place. All anyone must do is believe in Jesus and what He did on the cross.
For the Lord is our Judge, The Lord is our Lawgiver, The Lord is our King; He will save us Isaiah 33:22
There is only One who has both the power and authority to judge and the power and authority to save. David recognized this, pleaded for mercy before the Judge, and received it. What about you—do you recognize Jesus as the only One who can both judge and save?
What are your thoughts?
These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands