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 that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost 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. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar. (NIV)
Have you ever judged someone and then find out that it was you who was wrong and guilty of the issue? This is David’s psalm to Nathan’s remark in II Samuel 12:7 “Thou art the man”. It is only when we see our sinfulness before God that we come to the point of realization of our own fallen nature. As I read this psalm I must go to I Kings 15:5 “because David did that which was right in the eyes of Jehovah, and turned not aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite”. This psalm along with psalm 32 was written as a result of this sin. Every time I read this psalm I realized that a life without God’s presence is a life in which there is brokenness.
In verse one David comes to God for mercy and the blotting out of his transgression. In verse two he adds wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. David knew he had sinned; he felt the need for cleansing and knew that this cleansing could only come from God. As you read the rest of this psalm you should be able to pick up on one of the major characteristic of God and that is his unfailing love and his great compassion. How do you get right with God after you have sinned and done evil in the sight of the Lord? Read psalms 51 and 32 and let the Holy Spirit speak to you through these verses to restore the joy of your salvation and renew a steadfast spirit within you. Then you will have a purpose in life and that is to teach transgressors God’s way and turn them to Him.
One of the greatest truths that one learns in life is the importance of relationships. This psalms represents a time in David’s life where he had abandoned the ways of God to protect himself and others from public shame. Yet his plans to protect these relationships did not work. As a believer we need to realize the truth about sin, and that truth is that all sin is known by God. Another truth about sin is that it affects relationships. The family relationship is usually the strongest relationship that people have in this world, and yet the bond of this relationship can easily be broken when sin enters the picture. There is also the relationship that we have with God. This psalm focuses on the only way to restore a broken relationship and that way is through repentance and returning back to God’s ways. Verse six makes God’s way simple, God desires truth in our inner parts He desires to have His laws written on our heart. So, if you are facing a broken relationship today know that unless you are coming to God with a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you will not be able to have true joy and peace in your heart.
This leads to another truth I see in the world today, but cannot fully understand. Why do we let sin rule our life and wreck relationships, when God has provided a way for all relationships to be restored by his great gift of forgiveness? As I study the story of Cain and Abel found in Genesis chapter four I see God’s love being rejected by Cain before he killed Abel. And even after Cain killed Abel God placed a mark on Cain to protect him from others. Yet Cain still went out of God’s presence. Why then do individuals who have been once enlightened and who have tasted the heavenly gift fall away? The Lord gives reasons for this falling away in his parable of the sower found in Matthew chapter thirteen. In this parable the seed (God’s Word) falls on four types of soils: the soil of the wayside, the rocky soil, the soil among the thorns, and the good soil. In the first case the word is heard but Satan takes it away from them. In the second case the word is heard, but is soon abandon when tribulation or persecution comes along in a person’s life. In the third case the cares of this world choke out the word and the person does not grow and becomes fruitful. However, in the fourth case the word is heard and brings about great changes in the person. Do you let the Word of God grow in you, or does Satan, the cares of this world, or the desires of this world destroy the effects that the Word could have on your life.
Verses six and seven “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” describes the nature of man. As a child grows the sweetness that the new-born child processed gives way to the true sinful nature which we all are have at birth. The desires of the child turns to me, me, me. But God is always calling to us to return to Him. His desire for us is to have truth within our hearts and wisdom within our inmost place. Therefore as a young child we must heed the call of God. This simple concept of God’s desire seems to get lost in our everyday routine of living. We let Satan, the cares of this world, or the desires of this world rob us of this desire that God wants for us in our life. In the devotion for June 11 in his book My Utmost for His Highest Oswald Chambers writes:
The questions that truly matter in life are remarkably few, and they are all answered by these words— “Come to Me.” Our Lord’s words are not, “Do this, or don’t do that,” but— “Come to me.” If I will simply come to Jesus, my real life will be brought into harmony with my real desires. I will actually cease from sin, and will find the song of the Lord beginning in my life.
This is what David is writing here in this Psalm. As I look back in my life as well as the life of other Christians I know or have known; it was not our seeking after God that brought God in our lives, but it was the way that we responded to the seeking God as we opened the door to our heart and let him enter our inmost place to dwell. Once we open the door and receive Him then the true transformation of bringing our life into this harmony with His desires takes place and we can experience the peace that passes understanding.