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Psalm 51

Troy Gessler

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.

Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.

Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.

16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.

18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.

19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.(Ps. 51. 6.)


This verse describes to me the reason for David’s sorrow. He did not have truth and honesty dwelling within himself and that is why God pushed the button of his conviction. He had a grievous sin that was out in the open for everyone to see but he lied within himself to justify the error of his ways. Nathan, a prophet of God, brought this sin to the front of David’s mind. He showed it to him and it pained David’s heart that he would commit such an injustice. It brought a great sense of disappointment and failure to David. To know that he had done something to displease God… To know that he had pained the one who had watched him from the womb… To know that he had brought reproach to the name of the Holy One… It tore David down. His sorrow was real. He actually was pained that he hurt God. You can almost hear and visualize his tears and immense grief. You can see him throwing dust upon himself and groveling in the dirt. Such a low place for David. 


As David laments though, you can also hear the cries of a child that longs to be brought back into right relationship with his Father. He was so torn up over his sin but David looked to God’s mercy. “Restore me God! Restore me!” “Discipline me, clean me, wash me.” He understands his complete dependence on God for forgiveness. David could not forgive himself into God’s grace. He entreated God for mercy, for grace and to make himself in right standing before God again. This completely tears down the thoughts that are running rampant through many church circles. We cannot positively think ourselves into a right standing with God. We cannot, “Name it and claim it,” and expect things to be right with God. 


When you are wrong accept that you are wrong and ask for forgiveness. Become low (because you really are) and entreat the mercy of God upon your head. Man may withhold forgiveness because of pride or arrogance but God always accepts the sacrifices of an honestly broken heart crying out to Him for mercy. Don’t fake your apology. God sees through that. It is God’s mercy that He reveals that you are wrong and sinful. He does this so you will run to Him. Some never experience this conviction. It is a blessing to be humbled before the Lord. It is a blessing because God will bring you up from your sad estate when you seek Him. Lord bless you.

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