From Psalms 51
One evening King David went for a walk on the roof of his palace. Close by the palace was another house, and a young woman was taking a bath on the roof. His lust got the best of him and he had his servants bring her to the palace. He committed adultery with her. When she told him she was pregnant, he tried to manipulate circumstances so that it would appear as if her husband was the father. When that didn’t work, he had her husband killed and married her. It seems he thought everything was covered up. But one day the prophet came to visit him and he realized that God knew.
David faced a lot of reaping. But the worst part was the guilt he felt. He had sinned against Bathsheba. He had sinned against her husband, Uriah. But most of all, he had sinned against God, and he loved God more than anyone else. He wrote this Psalm when this finally sank in and he realized the depth of his sin.
Read this passage carefully and note the verbs David used. They tell a story about the depth of his anguish, as well as the depth of his repentance.
Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your loving kindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise. Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, With burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.
|Have Mercy…||This is our only hope. When we realize the depth of our sinfulness, mercy is our only way out.|
|Blot out…||The very memory of sin brings back the memory of our guilt. I can’t blame David for wanting it gone.|
|Wash me…||Blotting it out still leaves the stain. David is saying, please God wash away the stain, and…|
|Cleanse me…||So that I can forget. And so that I never do such a thing again. [Can you sense his agony?]|
|I_acknowledge…||There was no use in denying it any longer. He had sinned and he would need to face the repercussions.|
|Purge me…||He had already asked God to wash him and cleanse him. Purging is stronger. Use a stronger soap please, God. Scrub me.|
|Wash me…||Again. It seems that the stain just won’t go away.|
|Make me hear…||In case I’m tempted to forget the sinfulness of sin.|
|Blot out…||Again. Is there no end to regrets? No way to get rid of guilt? No salvation? Yes there is…|
|Create in me…||Already you can see the hope growing in his heart. A hope for a clean heart once again.|
|Renew within me…||He had peace at one time. He had God’s spirit in him. He wants it back, no matter what the cost. Only by having God’s spirit can he shake off the horror of his guilt.|
|Restore to me…||Joy? How can he hope for joy? Every again. But the blight of sin doesn’t last forever for the person who repents. David will laugh again. He will rejoice. He will lift his hands to heaven in praise. Because he has been restored.|
|Uphold me…||The Spirit of God can do for us what we can never do for ourselves. He can blot out the past and cleanse us. Even the very memory can lose its edge in the joy of forgiveness and the presence of God.|
|Deliver me…||Take away the guilt. Take away the memory. Take away the very desire to sin. I don’t want to fail you again God. Deliver me.|
|Open my lips||I will no longer be quiet. I will tell others what you have done for me. I will show by my life that you have forgiven and delivered me. I have been broken, Lord. I am not the man I thought I was. I failed. I hurt people around me. Most of all, I will praise thee.|
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise