A Psalm for Forgiveness (Psalm #51)

Text: Psalm 51

This is one of the greatest prayers for mercy in all of the Bible.  David commits adultery with Bathsheba. He then kills Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband.  After over a year of his conscience eating him up with this sin, God uses Nathan the prophet to point the finger at David and convict him of his sin.  This psalm is David’s response.

Forgiveness and mercy (vss 1-4)

  • Verse 1
    • David pleads for mercy.  He is not an Old Testament Jew who is obeying the law for salvation.  David is guilty under the law for adultery and murder, both of which require the death penalty.
    • If only our sin did this to us!
    • David isn’t looking for salvation, he’s begging God to clean him up from his sin.
  • Verse 2
    • This is more than David regretting getting caught, David is completely disgusted with his sin and knows he can’t clean himself up.
    • How shall a young man cleanse his way? Taking heed to the word of God.  Washing of water by the word…
  • Verse 3
    • David doesn’t defend his sin.  He doesn’t justify himself, he acknowledges his transgressions.
    • David’s sin is constantly on David’s mind.  The law could never purge a conscience.
    • Preaching is meant to strengthen and bring out your conscience so that sin can be dealt with.  Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
  • Verse 4
    • Justify God rather justify yourself.
    • God is the Judge.

Forgiveness and a new birth (vss 5-12)

  • Verses 5-6
    • Need for a new birth hinted at.
  • Verse 7
    • Exodus 12:22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
    • Hyssop branch would be used to dip in the blood of the Lamb and applied to the doorposts at the passover
  • Verse 8
    • Loss of joy is often times the result of sin.
    • Fruit of the spirit is joy.  Elements of the world get in and the fruit rots.
  • Verse 10
    • Create in me a clean heart, in other words purge my conscience.  Almost like a new creature.
    • Renew a right spirit, the spirit was wrong because the heart has participated in sin.
    • 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
    • Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature
  • Verse 12
    • Free spirit and Spirit of the Lord is liberty
    • 2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
    • Galatians 2:4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:
    • Galatians 5:1, 13 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. … 13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

Forgiveness and evangelism (vss 13-15)

  • (vss 12-13) – God taking his holy spirit and ceasing to uphold David by his spirit would mean David would be unable to be “evangelistic.”  He wouldn’t be able to preach.
  • Filled with the Spirit of God meant boldness to preach God’s forgiveness
  • Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
  • Acts 4:8, 31 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, … 31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Forgiveness and God’s will (vss 16-17)

  • Broken spirit and broken heart are the same.  Heart and spirit so similar.
  • In the Old Testament and New Testament this is what the Lord is looking for.
  • Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
  • Isaiah 66:2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

Forgiveness and the ability to please God (vss 18-19)

  • David’s sin had caused a blight on God’s work.
  • When the testimony is good, then the service to God is acceptable.