"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt 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 to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me."
A Sinner's Prayer
topic: True Joy is found ONLY in a right relationship with God.
One of God's greatest servants walked on the roof of his home in the late afternoon of a beautiful Middle Eastern day. As he looked from the roof of his palatial home, his eyes came to rest upon a woman who was bathing, perhaps in a courtyard or on a roof nearby. The woman was beautiful. Thus began the story of David's great sin with Bathsheba, the murder of her husband, Uriah, and the death of an illegitimate child. (see 2 Samuel 11:1-12:8.) David's sin led him into darkness, despair, disgrace and defeat. When the prophet Nathan confronted David and condemned him as the stealer of a woman and the murderer of an innocent man, David's spirit was crushed within him. Guilt piled upon guilt in his broken heart.
In the hours that followed, David sat at his table and penned his words of repentance. As was his custom, David wrote those words in the form of a song, our Psalm 51. The first eleven verses contain prayers- a prayer of repentance in verses 1-9 and a prayer of renewal in verses 10 and 11.
A Prayer of Repentance
David's prayer of repentance involves six separate items, each of which should come from a truly repentant heart.
A cry for mercy.
Grace, one of God's characteristics, allows Him to give sinful men things they do not deserve. His mercy, on the other hand, is a characteristic that causes Him to withhold punishment from an individual who deserves it. "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness" began David. (Psalm 51:1). He pleaded that God would withhold from him the wrath he should have received because of the chain of sins he had forged.
No man should ever want what he deserves from God, because every man deserves death and Hell as a result of his sin (Romans 6:23a). Only the mercy of God withholds the hand of God's wrath upon rebellious and sin-distorted mankind.
Like earthly parents, God also corrects those who act foolishly. The repentant person, knowing what he deserves, must cry out to God for mercy, recognizing that his behavior will bring God's wrath unless God extends mercy to him.
David asked God to measure His mercy His His own loving-kindness. The word "loving-kindness" suggests the loyalty of one individual to another because of an established love relationship accompanied by an agreement, perhaps even a covenant. God had certainly expressed his loving-kindness toward David, and David pleaded for mercy on the basis of a past covenant relationship.
Often in a marriage, occasions arise when the husband of wife will plead for mercy and forgiveness on the basis of the covenant the two made at their wedding.
When company is coming and the wife has cleaning to do, food to prepare and dishes to wash, she appreciates having her husband come home immediately after work. When he decides instead to leave work two hours early to play golf and finally arrives home a half hour before dinner, bragging about his golf score, his wife will undoubtedly be upset. Her feelings are justified, but she does not dismiss him or divorce him because of his insensitivity and selfishness.
Because of the rich love that brought about their marriage, she will forgive and seek to restore the kind of fellowship they had enjoyed before. This happens, of course, when the husband realizes what he has done, confesses his failure to his wife and asks for the extension of her mercy, resulting in his forgiveness and restoration.
A plea for clearing of the record.
When a child does something wrong, his parent has the option either to forgive and forget the wrong or to punish the child. In the spring after a boy's tenth birthday, he put a rock in his slingshot, took careful aim and released the rock in the general direction of an obnoxious sparrow. But without thinking, he had also aimed the rock at the kitchen window of his family's farm home.
As the window shattered, he knew he had committed a sin. His mother had told him many times never to shoot rocks toward the house. He had done it, however, and the evidence was clearly visible. When he saw what had happened, he ran out of the yard, past the barn and down the lane toward the garden where his mother was working. He crossed the creek and climbed up the big bank, sobbing every step of the way.
When his mother saw him crying, she assumed he was hurt. She came over, put her arms around him and asked what was the matter. He blurted out over and over again, "I broke the kitchen window. I broke the kitchen window." His mother did not beat him. She did not criticize him. She simply erased the debt of his act. He would never forget that mercy.She reacted to her son in tenderness.
David knew that he had broken his relationship with God because of his sin. In tears he pleaded, "According unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions" (Psalm 51:1b). God graciously blotted them out so that David would need to plead no more.
A request for cleansing.
"Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin," prayed David (verse 2). Every genuinely repentant person desires complete cleansing and forsaking of his sin. He does not casually bow before God and request that God take away a portion of his sin while he retains the rest. Nor does he ask for a temporary cleansing so he can return to his sin.
David prayed for cleansing through and through. He could see the filth of his spiritual garments and wanted nothing more to do with them until they were absolutely clean. The dark, dirty colors of his sin did not match the expected righteousness of the king's life, so he begged for cleansing through forgiveness. David based his request for cleansing upon a full recognition of his wrongdoing. He did not have a glib attitude toward his sin.
A recognition of sin.
David fully acknowledged his transgression (verse 3). As a matter of fact, his sin was so prominent in his mind that he said, "My sin is ever before me." Every place he turned, he saw reminders of what he had done. Day and night the thoughts of his sin raged through his troubled mind. In verse 4, David confessed that he had sinned primarily against God: "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight." He was fully conscious that he had sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah. But he had also wronged the Creator of Heaven and earth, and David had to seek reconciliation with Him.
Every one of our sins is aimed directly at God. When Johnny Juvenile-offender shoplifted from the neighborhood grocery store, he hurt the store's regular customers, because they had to pay for his theft through higher prices. In a certain sense J.J. transgressed against his neighbors. But his major offense was against the store owner, who, when he caught J.J., prosecuted him.
When David sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah, he transgressed against them, but he transgressed against God in a greater way. David was clearly aware that God would prosecute him. He needed the forgiveness of the Sovereign Whose people he had violated.
When we sin against one of God's people, we must remember to seek not only the forgiveness of the person we sinned against, but also the forgiveness of God because we have violated Him too.
A realization of depravity.
David fully recognized the potential of his life when he said, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me" (verse 5). He knew that his propensity to sin had been present in him from his earliest days. He was depraved by nature. His poor, repentant heart was aware of his great tendencies , and with a clear recognition of them, he cried out to God for a solution.
A plea for a solution.
In verses 6 through 9, David revealed his desire to be clean: "Make me to know wisdom" (verse 6b); "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (verse 7); "Blot out all my iniquities" (verse 9).
In his book When God Chooses: the Life of David Keith Kaynor wrote, "Placing the psalms written during this period of David's life [from his sin with Bathsheba through the following year] in chronological order, they would appear as follows: 38, 2, 51 and 32" ([Schaumburg, IL: Regular Baptist Press, 1989] p. 242). Those psalms reveal how David felt during that time. Depression overwhelmed him (Psalm 32.3, 4; 38:3, 4); he could no eat. He often felt apathetic and lethargic (Psalm 38:8, 10). He was filled with anxiety, and tears often came upon him. His despair brought him to the place of repentance (Psalm 32:5, 38:17-22). Now the first progress beyond repentance began to manifest itself. He had a deep-seated desire once again to know joy and happiness (Psalm 511:8).
A Prayer for Renewal
During the summer of 1993, the American news media provided daily reports on the battle between flooding rivers and Midwesterners. For the most part, the floods won, and hundreds of Americans were left with devastated farm land, businesses and homes. Those who chose not to relocate faced an intimidating twofold job: (1) clean up the mud and debris and (2) rebuild and restore.
In the first part of Psalm 51, David requested that God remove the dirt from him. In the next part of his prayer, he requested the God "renew" him so God could use him again. For believers, getting back into fellowship with God involves confessing our sin (1John 1:9). When we confess our sin, God restores us to fellowship with Himself. Thus renewed, we can worship and serve God with renewed spiritual zeal and strength.
The psalmist prayed for four specific things. First, he requested a clean heart: "Create in me a clean heart, O God' (Psalm 51:10a). Second, he prayed for a good or right spirit: "Renew a right spirit within me" (verse 10b). Third, he asked God for His abiding presence: "Cast me not away from thy presence" (verse 11a). And fourth, he appealed for the continued presence of the Holy Spirit of God, empowering him for service and ministry: "Take not thy holy spirit from me" (verse 11b).
Repentance and renewal lead to usefulness and blessing. Without them, no amount of labor, compensation or self-recrimination can bring us into God's will.
Are you missing fellowship with Jesus Christ? Are you living with unconfessed sin? Confess your sin to God. His is faithful and just to forgive you and to renew in you the joy of walking with Jesus Christ.
this was taken from chapter 5 of "Songs that touch the heart: selected Psalms" by: John White