This psalm was written by David after Nathan the prophet rebuked him of his sin. He had sinned with another man’s wife, had the man killed, and then tried to cover his tracks. Even though David was a man after God’s own heart, his heart was deceitful. This psalm is a confession of his sin. He asks God to be merciful and to blot out his transgressions. He acknowledges the fact that sin is ultimately rebellion against God. It is no small matter.
There is a difference in remorse over getting caught and genuine repentance that understands the seriousness of sin. All too often we are sorry because of sin’s consequences and not the sin itself. David knew that he had done evil in the sight of the Lord. He didn’t try to justify himself or make excuses for his behavior. He was guilty, and only the Lord could cleanse his life and restore to him the joy of his salvation. God wasn’t looking for David to give sacrifice, nor would He be pleased with a burnt offering. He knew that man doesn’t make deals with God. Instead, God was looking for humility and a repentant attitude. God gives grace only to the humble.
Do you know the joy of forgiveness? A lot of depression in life can be traced back to guilt that is associated with unconfessed sin, wounds that have been allowed to fester rather than heal. God doesn’t just gloss over the sin in our lives, nor does He turn a blind eye to it. He convicts us, exposes our sin, and takes us to the cross of Jesus Christ where true forgiveness can be found. We can’t bargain with God and resolve to merely do better, nor can we appease God through service. It is only the death of God’s Son that satisfies His wrath. Christ’s sacrifice is the only sacrifice that God accepts. When we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We can know the joy of forgiveness because Christ embraced the pain of the cross in our place!
Father, I praise You today for Your mercy and grace! Thank You for the joy that comes through knowing that my sins have been forgiven, all because Jesus died in my place. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For more, read Psalm 51:1-19