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Psalm 51

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Over the years I have had the pleasure of getting to know singer and songwriter Danny Oertli. One of the things I have noticed about many of the songs he writes is that they stem from life events he has gone through. When you understand the events and details of his life you have a new appreciation for the depth of the lyrics in his songs.
The Psalm we are looking at today was a song, it was written for the choir director, the one who would lead the people to worship God… before we look at the words David pens for the people of God as they worship, I want to take us to the back story of this Psalm…
This is a Psalm of Lament: expressing sorrow, mourning, regret, a crying out in grief… to discover what King David is lamenting over we must look at the offense in 2 Samuel 11-12

Sin Offends a Holy God

Consider David’s sin and think how you would respond...
2 Samuel 11:1 David is not where he should be…
2 Samuel 11:1 NASB95
Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.
Comfort and complacency often breed sinful desires...
David see a beautiful woman bathing on the rooftop
He inquires who she and discovers she is the wife of Uriah the Hittite
Uriah is a close acquaintance… (a friend even) one of David’s mighty men
Brings her to his room and sleeps with her… his friends wife!!!
She gets pregnant
David tries to bring Uriah back from battle so he would lie with his wife
Cover-up!!!
Uriah is a man of character and integrity would not do so
David has Joab his general put Uriah at the front lines and then pull back so he dies… MURDER!!!
What is your opinion so far of David…? so easy to look at another’s sin and judge is it not. 2 Samuel 11:26-12:1
2 Samuel 11:26–12:1 NASB95
Now when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. When the time of mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house and she became his wife; then she bore him a son. But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord. Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him and said, “There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor.
God sees our sin and He deals with it!
Nathan confronts David… kudos to Nathan, we need people to call sin what it is in this day… it is SIN!
Tells story about rich and poor man… rich man takes poor mans only lamb that he loved to feed a guest passing through.
David is furious!!! look at the response… 2 Samuel 12:5-7
2 Samuel 12:5–7 NASB95
Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. “He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.” Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.
YOU ARE THE MAN! … How do you respond to sin being pointed out in your life, your heart? Do you know what scripture states about David’s heart? Acts 13:22
Acts 13:22 NASB95
“After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.’
WOW! “a man after my own heart” God says this of David! WHY??? Look at David’s response… 2 Samuel 12:13 a repentant heart…
2 Samuel 12:13 NASB95
Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.

A Repentant Heart

When sin has manifested itself in our lives, when our eyes have been opened to our offense before a Holy God… We approach Him:
We often come with a desire for forgiveness, while often lacking a heart of repentance! David approaches God with BOTH!
We see this beautifully penned out for us in this Psalm 51 as David reflects on his sin...
In verses 1-9 we see David speak of the cleansing that is necessary and that can only come from God
In verses 10-19 we see the restoration that can take place for the one who has a repentant heart, broken, humbled
The format of this Psalm is a Strophe= literally means an act of turning... from cleansing of sin to a new creation!
This is still needed in the lives of people today… consider what Paul spoke of in 1 Thessalonians 1:9
1 Thessalonians 1:9 NASB95
For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,
As we repent, turn… we must get the order correct: “to God from idols” sin, lust… We need Him! David knew this
This Psalm was written a time later after the sin and after the confrontation as David reflected, and allowed God to work.
Followers of God have been comforted by this Psalm for centuries as they realize that a Holy and righteous God can and does forgive sin even David’s sin, then they too can be forgiven!
The Bible Knowledge Commentary summarizes this Psalm well…

The message of this psalm is that the vilest offender among God’s people can appeal to God for forgiveness, for moral restoration, and for the resumption of a joyful life of fellowship and service, if he comes with a broken spirit and bases his appeal on God’s compassion and grace.

As we look at this Psalm 51 please bow or even kneel at your seat, close your eyes and pray along with David as he bears his heart to God...
Psalm 51 NASB95
For the choir director. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified 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 innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken 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 sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Your praise. For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. By Your favor do good to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices, In burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar.

The Cleansing of Sin!

Verse 1 As David approaches God and ask for His grace, NOTICE it is not on his own merit, BUT rather on God’s lovingkindness, God’s compassion!
Verses 1-2 Blot… Wash… Cleanse… David desires total forgiveness here, not in part but the whole sin! Christ did that whole work at Calvary!
Verse 4 says so much about David’s perspective...
He sinned against God? What about Bathsheba and Uriah?
God is the One who determines right and wrong… NOT culture, NOT opinion, NOT convenience…
God’s Law is Holy because He is Holy, David did what was wrong in God’s sight! This is key!
David clearly understands the character of God… just, blameless, holy!
Verse 5-6 David acknowledges he has never been sinless yet desires even in his innermost being to be so…knowing it is only God who can make him this way!
I saw a quote this week that stated; “God looked down and saw the best in me… then He sent His Son to die on a cross for it!” … There is nothing good in and of ourselves!
Verses 7-9 Once again find David requesting and pleading for God to cleanse of his sin...
Hyssop= sprinkling of blood from the sacrifice. Blood is the cost of our sin!
His blood covers the blackness of our sin and washes white as snow!
Blot out… erased, seen no more, GONE!!! oh how i love the song lyrics, “my chains are gone I’ve been set free, My God, My Saviour ransomed me!” and He paid with His blood!

Restoration of the Sinner!

As we look at these verses of restoration we see once again it is God who is doing the work!
Verse 10 restoration is a creative work… we are being made into something NEW, we are being made into the image of His Son!
This is a process that requires steadfastness and that steadfastness comes from God too!
It makes no sense for us to turn from our idols and try to turn to God… We need Him to do it!
Verse 11 I am going out on a limb here and guessing that all of you have sinned multiple times… maybe even repeating the same sin over and over...
David did not want to end up like Saul, cast aside, the spirit taken from Him.
You and I are guaranteed, sealed with the Spirit at salvation (Ephesians 1) However…
1 Corinthians 9:27 Paul states this:
1 Corinthians 9:27 NASB95
but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
Our sin can disqualify us to be used by God
Verse 12-13 David realizes two things in this restorative process…
1) We must remain close to God and have a willing spirit NOT a complacent one that allows us to repeat sin over and over
2) We must be willing for God to use our sin and mistakes to draw others to Himself
Do not allow the sin to repeat but allow God to show through us His restoring power!
Verses 14-17 David is declaring a change moving forward… a newness.
Declaring God is the One who brings salvation
Declaring the praises of God for the work He has done in our life
In verse 16 we see it is not what is done for others to see but the work in our heart God cares about!
God wants a broken and contrite (remorseful) HEART
As opposed to a proud and hard heart
God will work with a heart that is mold-able and humble not despising that man or woman
Verses 18-19 somewhat seem out of place in this Psalm, but I am so glad they are here. They speak powerfully!
Our sin ALWAYS impacts the greater whole
As God restores the individual the entire people are blessed and built up
Do not deceive yourself into thinking that this is just between you and God
That is like saying colon cancer is no big deal… no one sees the colon, it is only one part of the body… It is crazy talk.
Fuller worship, greater fellowship, and God’s favor rest on the whole body of His people.
The church needs the Uriahs who will stand up for what is right and what God says regardless
The church needs Nathans who will call sin SIN!
The church needs Davids who will have a heart after God’s Heart, not perfect people but rather those who are ready to repent, be cleansed, and experience God’s restoration.
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