He knew he deserved to be punished more; that was not in question. But the ongoing consequence of his sin was too great of a burden to bear. After all, millions have cried through the centuries, "For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?" (Revelation 6:17) I don't know what the Psalmist did this time, but he knew; and he knew that he deserved whatever God dealt out.
God didn't continue the discipline, though. He loved David too much to let him continue in pain – even pain that he deserved. He rescued the sinner. He forgave him. He removed the burden. So, David wrote, "I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done. The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. (Psalm 118:17-21)
We all deserve to be punished more. I wonder sometimes if the low level of our gratitude reflects a lack of appreciation for what we actually deserve to receive because of our sins. Do we really get that "the wages of sin is death"? (Romans 6:23) If God were to send us all to hell, he would be justified; but he would not be satisfied because he doesn't want any of us to perish (2 Peter 3:9).
So he saved us! The plan was enormous: It took thousands of years to complete. The cost was high: The precious blood of his son. He loved us, he loved you, so much that he could bear to see us go on and go out in our sin. No cost was too high.
If you are Christ's, you are not going to die because of your sin! He has disciplined you, no doubt. Every loving father disciplines his children. God has opened for you the gates of righteousness. He has become your salvation instead of your condemnation! And what is our response?
Thank you, God! Thank you, God! Thank you, God! Thank you, God! Thank you, God! Thank you, God! Thank you, God!
What does your heart express in response to your salvation? Do your words to God say "Thank you"? Do your words about God to others express gratitude? How can you live today that says, "You have become my salvation; and I will thank you"? That's Life at Work!