The Psalms are God's beautiful reminder that quite often life without Him involves sadness, confusion and despair. The book also reminds us that sometimes, even with Him, life is hard and we don't have all the answers. They help us pour out our souls in complete dependence on Jesus Christ, and at the same time invite us to trust His heart, even when we can't see His hand. For our good. For His glory.
Psalms 51 is no exception. It does all this, and more.
"Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy 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, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You may be justified in Your words and blameless in Your judgment....
When the prophet Nathan came to David (II Samuel 12) David was a broken man. David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged to have her husband Uriah killed in battle. He was broken before Nathan, broken before the people of Israel and broken before God. In all his brokenness David writes Psalm 51.
10 observations from Psalms 51:
David begins his song with a testimony of God's steadfast love and abundant mercy. Over 127 times in Psalms he writes of God's steadfast love, but only twice does he mention His abundant mercy. David writes of God's abundant mercy in this passage and in Psalms 69:16, "Answer me, O Lord, for Your steadfast love is good; according to Your abundant mercy..." I'm so thankful for His abundant mercy in my life!
In verse 8 David writes, "...let the bones that You have broken rejoice." Some times our brokenness comes directly from God, other times it's allowed by God. God can use our wrong choices to become brokenness in a way that gets our attention. Brokenness can be His way of producing growth in our spiritual lives, and His way of making us more like Him.
In verse 10 David asks God to "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Shouldn't this be our prayer every morning? He continues in verse 12 by asking God to restore and uphold him. Again, a beautiful prayer in the midst of David's beautiful song.
Then in verses 14 and 15 David launches into a spirit of praise. "...my tongue will sing aloud of Your righteousness...my mouth will declare Your praise." And he ends his song with the truths he learned. We find the lesson and the takeaway in verse 17. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart...."
All this, not from a perfect man. Not from a man without a past. But from a man after God's own heart.
Friend, you may be struggling today with a past. Some thing or things that satan keeps bringing up to make you feel inadequate as a Christian. If this is where you are, cling to David's song in Psalms 51. Cling to the steadfast love and abundant mercy of our God! Hold tight to His promises. Rejoice in your brokenness as David rejoiced in his. Petition God for a clean heart and renewed spirit. Praise Him with a song in your heart. Testify of His steadfast love and abundant mercy!
"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His steadfast love endures forever." Psalm 136:1,26
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