10 Minute Read


Leviticus 11:1–12:8
Mark 5:21-43
Psalm 38:1-22
Proverbs 10:8-9


Psalm 38:21–22 (CSB): “Lord, do not abandon me; my God, do not be far from me. Hurry to help me, my Lord, my salvation.”


This is a very honest psalm. It’s rugged. It’s transparent.

We don’t have to question what David is feeling. He tells us exactly what’s going on in his heart, mind, and body.

From the very first verse until the end of the chapter, king David is pointing out that his whole body feels miserable.

Why did he feel horrible? Was he sick? Did he have a serious physical ailment?

We cannot answer those questions definitively but it seems as if his physical ailments were at least, to some great extent, a result of his spiritual condition.

Psalm 38:3-4 (CSB): “There is no soundness in my body because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have flooded over my head; they are a burden too heavy for me to bear.”

Psalm 38:17-18 (CSB): “For I am about to fall, and my pain is constantly with me. So I confess my iniquity; I am anxious because of my sin.”

It seems that David’s body was feeling the effects of his sin, whatever that sin was. His physical being was experiencing the consequences of his spiritual problem.

Friend, I believe that this chapter, like so many others, demonstrates exactly why David was called, “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22).

David wasn’t “a man after God’s own heart” because he was some spiritual giant. It wasn’t because He was super holy. It wasn’t because he rarely ever sinned.

If we are even vaguely familiar with King David, we know that his list of sins is huge … and it has some major, massive sins on the list.

  • He was an adulterer who abused his power to compel a married woman to have sex with him.
  • He contrived a sickening plan to keep the unsuspecting husband from ever hearing about it. He brought the husband home and encouraged him to have sex with his wife, hoping that he would think the child is his when he learned that his wife was pregnant with David’s baby.
  • He had an utter disregard for the pregnant woman. She was encouraged to keep the adulterous secret from the husband she loved, the man she had vowed to remain faithful to as they spent the rest of their life together.
  • When David’s plan didn’t work (it failed because the husband was an incredibly noble man who loved his wife but also cared deeply for his troops), he ordered the death of the innocent husband.
  • He disobeyed God’s design for marriage by obtaining multiple wives.
  • He was obviously not a good parent. Just look at how many of his kids turned out.
  • On and on we could go about how clearly the Scriptures demonstrate the sinfulness of David’s heart.

So, how in the world could a sinful man like David be “a man after God’s own heart?”

Let me provide the two reasons that immediately come to mind:

1. God’s grace!

Ultimately, all of us are sinners. If God wasn’t gracious, reaching out to us in relationship that we are so unworthy of, then He would be just to condemn every single one of us to an eternity in Hell. But, David, like so many others, was an object of God’s undeserved grace.

2. David’s ability to repent!

While David was an obvious sinner, he also knew how to repent. I suspect that David never whimsically prayed, “Lord forgive me of all of my sin.”

Instead, it seems as if David frequently felt the weight of his sin. It affected him physically and in very profound ways. It grieved his heart that he had broken God’s commands and God’s heart and his heart condition was felt in every part of his body as he groveled in guilt.

So, when David confessed his sin to the Lord, it was always from a heart that took the matter much more seriously that most other people. Since he felt the weight of his sin like few people do, he was able to repent at a very deep level. Since his repentance was so heart-felt and profound, the cleansing he received was much more thorough than most others who repent.

David knew that the way to cleansing and joy was through the valley of repentance. Further, he knew that the deeper he went in the valley of repentance, the higher he could go on the mountain of joy.

The way up was to go down first. And since David understood this simple and yet profound principle, and regularly put it into practice, he had the kind of heart that God loved.


This is what God desires from us, too, friend.

How long has it been since you grieved over your sin? How long has it been since it broke your heart that you broke God’s commands and God’s heart? How long has it been since the knowledge and guilt of your sin made you physically sick?

Friend, the deeper your go in repentance (the more it affects every part of your being), the higher you can go in joy. The way up really is down.

2 Corinthians 7:9-10 (CSB): “I now rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance. For you were grieved as God willed, so that you didn’t experience any loss from us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, but worldly grief produces death.”