Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.”
– 2 Samuel 12:13
David was a man of contrasts. As a young man he was zealous for God’s glory (1 Sam. 17); refused to lift his hand against God’s anointed (1 Sam. 24; 26); and displays great compassion (2 Sam. 9). But David also committed serious sins. He committed adultery with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11); conspired to have Bathsheba’s husband killed (2 Sam. 11); tempted God through a census (2 Sam. 24); and was a poor father who refused to deal with the sin of his children (2 Sam. 13). So, why does the Bible call David a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22) even though he had such a flawed, sinful character? Perhaps it is because David was tenderhearted when confronted over his sin. When Nathan the prophet confronted David for his sins of adultery with Bathsheba, and the murder of her husband, David’s response was one of confession and repentance. Unlike his predecessor, Saul, David did not try to justify his actions (c.f. 1 Sam. 15). David understood his sin, readily confessed it, and turned from it. That is a sign of a regenerate heart.