Have mercy on me, God, according to your faithful love! Wipe away my wrongdoings according to your great compassion! Wash me completely clean of my guilt; purify me from my sin! Because I know my wrongdoings, my sin is always right in front of me. I’ve sinned against you-you alone. I’ve committed evil in your sight. That’s why you are justified when you render your verdict, completely correct when you issue your judgment. Yes, I was born in guilt, in sin, from the moment my mother conceived me. And yes, you want truth in the most hidden places; you teach me wisdom in the most secret space. Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. (Psa 51:1-7 CEB)
David wasn’t sorry for his actions, he saw himself as being powerful, and in a strong position. Even when Nathan the prophet came to him and told him the story of the rich and the poor man, “The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. “But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. “And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” (2Sa 12:2-4 NKJ)
We’re told that when David heard the story, “David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man.” (2Sa 12:5 NKJ) David was quick to judge the situation as he had done numerous times before, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! “And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.” (2Sa 12:5-6 NKJ) When Nathan told David, “You are the man.” It was David’s own judgment that condemned him. David realized he wasn’t sorry, but guilty and as a guilty man, he stood condemned. It was that feeling of condemnation that led David to true repentance before God. His cry was for mercy and compassion, realizing that he was born in sin and only God’s cleansing power could truly set him free.
Purification by washing and the use of hyssop meet the requirements of the priestly code of Leviticus. However, only the blood of Jesus can truly take away sin’s stain.
As the hymn writer Robert Lowry once wrote:
What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.