By: Steve Negley
Posted: July 25, 2019
Category: Daily Devotional
I guess you could say that David “was guilty as sin.” That’s the back-story for Psalm 51. (Even the introduction/instructions that accompany this Psalm paint David in a guilty light:
To the leader. A Psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
It is in his realization of the state of his soul that David prays to God in what we have received as Psalm 51:
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgment.
5 Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me.
6 You desire truth in the inward being;[a]
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right[b] spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing[c] spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you have no delight in sacrifice;
if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
17 The sacrifice acceptable to God[d] is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
19 then you will delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
David’s plea to God starts with a hopeful statement of God’s merciful, loving nature, coupled with an honest confession of his own sinfulness. David admits where he has truly gone wrong. David ponders making sacrifices to God to atone for his sin, and then realizes that what God wishes from us is a changed heart. To that end, David then asks that God not only forgive him, but also create a new and right heart and spirit inside of him. This is saying we are sorry with every part of our being. That’s what leads to true change and a better life.
Is there a sinful something keeping you from living the great life God intends for you? You might want to try on David’s words from Psalm 51 for size.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me, as I walk the path of discipleship, following more closely my Lord and Savior, Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.