David’s grief for sin was long and terrible. Its effects were visible upon his outward frame; his ‘bones waxed old;’ his moisture was ‘turned into the drought of summer.’ He tells us, that for a time he kept silence, and then his heart became more and more filled with grief: like some mountain tarn whose outlet is blocked up, his soul was swollen with torments of sorrow. He dreaded to confront his sin. He fashioned excuses; he endeavoured to divert his thoughts, but it was all to no purpose; the arrow of conviction made the wound bleed anew, and made the gash more wide and deep every day. Like a festering sore his anguish gathered and increased, and as he would not use the lancet of confession, his spirits became more and more full of torment, and there was no rest in his bones because of sin. At last it came to this, that he must return unto his God in humble penitence, or he must die outright; so he hastened to the mercy-seat, and there unrolled the volume of his iniquities before the eye of the all-seeing One, acknowledging all the evil of his ways. Having done this, a work so simple and yet so difficult to pride, he received at once the token of divine forgiveness; the bones which had been broken were made to rejoice, and he came forth from his closet to sing the blessedness of the man whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sin is covered.
For meditation: David was painfully aware of the spiritual and physical effects of his sin (Psalm 32:3–4; 51:8–10). Confessing sin to God always heals the Christian’s inward spiritual disease (1 John 1:9) and may relieve outward physical symptoms (James 5:16).
N.B. This sermon was illustrated by the contrasting cases of two murderers tried during the previous week. One tried to cover up his crime; the other voluntarily confessed her guilt.