Psalm 51

A Basic Outline
A request for forgiveness, v1-2
…have mercy..blot out my transgressions
…according to..lovingkindness/tender mercies
…wash me..cleanse me
Reason for request, 3
…For I acknowledge..
…and my sin is always before me
Truth about my transgression, 4
…against You..only (sin is ultimately rebellion against You even as I harm those around me)
…that You may be found just when You speak
(b/c I’ve sinned against You, You’re justified to send Nathan to confront me.)
Depth of my sin problem, 5
…brought sin my mother conceived me (born with a sin problem)
Height of Your standard of righteousness, 6
…You desire inner parts
…in hidden..You will make me know wisdom
(truth & wisdom in depths of our hearts)
Requests in light of my sin & God’s standard, 7-15
…purge me…I shall be clean
…wash me…I shall be whiter than snow
…make me hear joy…
(…that the bones…may rejoice = purpose)
…hide Your face from my sins, and blot out…
…create in me a clean..renew a steadfast…
…do not cast me not take
…restore to me the joy..and uphold me by
(…then I will teach transgressors = result)
…deliver me from the guilt
(…my tongue shall sing aloud = result)
…open my lips
(…my mouth shall show forth = result)
Pondering God’s priority, 16-17
…You do not desire sacrifice
…You do not delight in burnt offering
…the sacrifices..broken spirit..broken/contrite heart
…these..You will not despise
Final request, 18-19
…do the walls of Jerusalem
…then..pleased with:
:the sacrifices of righteousness
:with burnt offering & whole burnt offering
…then they shall offer bulls on Your altar

What sticks out?
David turns to God for the resolution of his sin with Bathsheba. The way to be white as snow is to turn to God for His cleansing.
What difference does this make?
Typically we try to create our own cleanliness…on our own or in addition to what God has done. We can easily learn to soothe our guilt with our own good works instead of looking to the cross.
Since he has made me clean I am free today to live for Him…no longer living to make up for past mistakes. “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
Consider 1 John 1:9… The forgiveness that leads to restored intimacy for a believer. Who am I after I confess my sin? Nice to meet you. I’m “Whiter Than Snow.”

What sticks out?
Look! the depth of my problem and the heights of Your desire. V5-6
Where does this make a difference?
The truth about those two things drives David to turn to You and cry out, “Purge me!” There is no slop in Your standard and thus, I am a man desperately in need of Your cleansing. Today isn’t a day for pride. I’ve got a problem. You’re my solution. Now, in the Lord Jesus, I see Your solution in final form…”It is finished.” The once for all sacrifice of Your Lamb for all our sin. “He is the satisfaction for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” 1 John 2:2
May I always be aware of and honest about my frailty. May I be aware of and honest about Your standard. Your Son is my sole solution to the gap between my sin and Your standard. Your Lamb is my answer. Your rules are the standard. Your Lamb is the solution to the standard.

What sticks out?
David’ boldness. He doesn’t ask for cleansing only. He asks for joy and gladness. He’s asking God’s full restoration. “…do not take Your Holy Spirit from me…uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” That’s essentially saying, “Not only do I request that this arrangement be maintained, that Your Spirit remain. I also ask that You uphold me through that very same Spirit.” That’s pretty bold.
Where does this make a difference?
How does David’s request for forgiveness compare and contrast to my own request for forgiveness? Am I as bold as David? I usually don’t ask for joy and strength when I confess my sin.
What does that lack of boldness reveal? Could it be that David knows something about my Father that I need to learn?

What sticks out?
The results of David’s forgiveness reach beyond his own relief. David wants to be clean. He wants his joy restored. He wants to be upheld by the Spirit. But he also wants to see God praised and sinners saved – as a direct result of God’s forgiveness.
Where does this make a difference?
David’s request for this private relief of forgiveness has very public implications. Is my experience of forgiveness impacting my praise and my testimony.

What sticks out?
Zion is the city of God. It is also David’s capital city. David had begun this Psalm with a request for forgiveness for his personal sin. He concludes with a request for blessing but not just any blessing. This request for blessing has personal righteousness and worship as it’s intended end result.
Where does this make a difference?
So often I make request for the sake of my pleasure. David makes a request that has God’s pleasure in view.
This whole idea calls to mind the word “selflessness” and I remember Paul in Philippians 3:8, “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” Moving beyond myself to something far better.