THE JOY OF MY SALVATION
Lord, thank You for mercy and forgiveness.
Read PSALM 51
For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
a Psalm 51:1 In Hebrew texts 51:1-19 is numbered 51:3-21.
b Psalm 51:17 Or The sacrifices of God are
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa. 139:23,24).
As a young man I followed sinful and dangerous paths, despite my Christian upbringing. I knew that God stood against sin—and I wanted to sin! When Jesus rescued me from the edge of death, I realized how distorted and counterproductive my views were. Life without him wasn’t really life. David has desired Bathsheba, but now the aftertaste is bitter. David has angered the one he professes to love, the one he has sung about since childhood, the one who has walked beside him through the valley of death. David has a deep relationship with God and the thought of losing that now tears into his very soul.
Repentance like this is something we don’t see in the Book of Revelation: God gives chance after chance, yet the world continues to defy him (Rev. 9:20,21). God listens to any contrite heart, yours and mine included. This psalm is about “me.” Cleanse and wash me (2,7): I need to be clean again. “Let me hear joy and gladness” (8): David has sacrificed joy, thinking he would get more from Bathsheba—yet without God he now has none. David is a self-starter, but now he wants God to rebuild him: “Create in me a pure heart” (10).
Satan is the destroyer. Temptation and sin bring destruction, but God creates beauty. Lord, David says, this heart is hurting: purify it, make things right again, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (12). “Do not cast me from your presence” (11)—the worst thing anyone who has a true relationship with God can think of, because that spells out hell. “Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed” (14): David longs to be right with God again. This is a psalm of true contrition. David wants to sing to and praise his God with a clear conscience. He knows that sacrifices are not required. The solution is a deep loving relationship between a Father and a son.
Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Is there something the Lord is calling you to face up to?
Lord, we are grateful that You think highly enough of us that You will not allow us to sin without assaulting our conscience and leading us to repentance.