For I acknowledge my transgressions - I know, I feel, I confess that I have sinned.
My sin is ever before me - A true, deep, and unsophisticated mark of a genuine penitent. Wherever he turns his face, he sees his sin, and through it the eye of an angry God.
For I acknowledge my transgressions - literally, I know, or make known. That is, he knew that he was a sinner, and he did not seek to cloak or conceal that fact. He came with the knowledge of it himself; he was willing to make acknowledgment of it before God. There was no attempt to conceal it; to excuse it. Compare the notes at Psalm 32:5. The word ““for”” does not imply that he referred to his willingness to confess his sins as an act of merit, but it indicates a state of mind which was necessary to forgiveness, and without which he could not hope for pardon.
And my sin is ever before me - That is, It is now constantly before my mind. It had not been so until Nathan brought it vividly to his recollection (2 Samuel 12:1 ff); but after that it was continually in his view. He could not turn his mind from it. The memory of his guilt followed him; it pressed upon him; it haunted him. It was no wonder that this was so. The only ground of wonder in the case is that it did not occur “before” Nathan made that solemn appeal to him, or that he could have been for a moment insensible to the greatness of his crime. The whole transaction, however, shows that people “may” be guilty of enormous sins, and have for a long time no sense of their criminality; but that “when” the consciousness of guilt is made to come home to the soul, nothing will calm it down. Everything reminds the soul of it; and nothing will drive away its recollection. In such a state the sinner has no refuge - no hope of permanent peace - but in the mercy of God.
Supposing David should, after being reproved by Nathan, have repeated the same offense, would the Lord then have had compassion upon him? But he repented bitterly; he declared his transgression was ever before him. Hear his humiliating confession, and listen to his despairing cries. TSB 188.2Read in context »
It is never safe for us to feel that we are possessed of virtues, and that we may congratulate ourselves on our excellences of character and our present state of purity and piety. David often triumphed in God, and yet he dwelt much upon his own unworthiness and sinfulness. His conscience was not asleep or dead. “My sin,” he cries, “is ever before me” (Psalm 51:3).... As he saw the depths of deceit in his heart he was deeply disgusted with himself, and prayed that God would keep him back by His power from the presumptuous sins, and cleanse him from secret faults. TMK 242.3Read in context »
In that hour of darkest trial, David sang: Ed 165.1
“I cried unto the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me out of His holy hill. Ed 165.2
“I laid me down and slept;
I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people,
That have set themselves against me around about.” Ed 165.3
God intended the history of David's fall to serve as a warning that even those whom He has greatly blessed and favored are not to feel secure and neglect watchfulness and prayer. And thus it has proved to those who in humility have sought to learn the lesson that God designed to teach. From generation to generation thousands have thus been led to realize their own danger from the tempter's power. The fall of David, one so greatly honored by the Lord, has awakened in them distrust of self. They have felt that God alone could keep them by His power through faith. Knowing that in Him was their strength and safety, they have feared to take the first step on Satan's ground. PP 724.1
Even before the divine sentence was pronounced against David he had begun to reap the fruit of transgression. His conscience was not at rest. The agony of spirit which he then endured is brought to view in the thirty-second psalm. He says: PP 724.2
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is
Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no guile.
When I kept silence, my bones waxed old
Through my roaring all the day long.
For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me:
My moisture was changed as with the drought of summer.” PP 724.3