July 20, 2022 – Psalm 51 – Forgiveness

Today we’ll be continuing with some of your favorites (or the passages you have questions about).  Email (andy@stm-umc.org) or message me with any passages you’d like added or that you have a question about!

Today we are looking at Psalm 51.  This is a longer Psalm that you can read by clicking the link to your left. The person who submitted this passage mentioned verses 10-13. But be sure to read all of this passage. There is a lot there: 

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence,
    and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and sustain in me a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.

Psalm 51 is one of the most painful and honest passages in all of the Bible. The title tells us what has happened.  David, the great king, the man after God’s own heart, the man who wrote so many of the Psalms, the man whose name still resides on the national flag of Isreal and is synonymous with the Jewish people (the star of David) has fallen.  Has had done about the worst thing a person can do.  

He had taken what was not his.  He has used his power in the worst way possible.  He has used his power against Bathsheba.  He has used his power against Uriah.  He has taken advantage of a woman, taken another man’s wife, and then when he (unlike David) showed integrity, had the man killed in battle.  

This one who was so righteous has fallen.  

Nathan the prophet calls him out on his sin, and the way that he handled this shows that while he has fallen, he hs still remains a good man.  A powerful king, like David, could have easily had Nathan killed for daring to question the king.  Who dares to speak in such a way towards the king. But not David. He realizes what he has done. And he immediately repents.  Turns to God, confesses his sin, and seeks restoration and forgiveness.  

Psalm 51 is his prayer of repentance and forgiveness that he prays to God. He confesses that he has sinned. He pleads for God’s mercy.  He has been sinful all his life before he was even born. He has truly and completely failed and is in need of the forgiveness and grace of God.  

He asks for a clean heart. He asks that God not cast him from God’s presence.  He asks for the joy of God’s salvation. And he says that he will teach other’s Gods’ way and sinners will return to Him. 

David has failed. He is without excuse. He doesn’t deserve mercy. And yet he asks anyway.  What does God do? What does God give? 

Forgiveness.  In spite of all that David has done, God gives forgiveness.  God shows grace.  Scripture is full of so many saints who have sinned grievously.  Moses. David.  Paul.  So many. I heard someone say that the only person in scripture who looks good is Jesus. 

And yeah, that’s the point. It’s only Jesus.  

Today, David pleads for forgiveness, and God graciously gives.  He forgives David. 

And he forgives you today. When we confess, he forgives. 

We all desire forgiveness. We all need forgiveness. We all can be forgiven.  Through God’s grace David, me, and you, we can know forgiveness.  

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