Come Clean (Psalm 51:1-4) - November 3rd 2013

    The story most often connected to Psalm 51 rises from 2 Samuel 11—12. In short, David stayed home when he should have been with his troops. His wandering eye and unchecked power allowed him to enter an immoral relationship with Bathsheba, the wife of one of the warriors. She conceived. David arranged for her husband to die in battle. David was silent for a year until the prophet Nathan confronted him. The prayers found in Psalms 32 and 51 are considered David’s prayers of confession. This study addresses the introduction to Psalm 51.
    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 that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.

    1. Acknowledge your sin.
    3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
    Augustine: The beginning of wisdom is to know yourself a sinner.
    Every sinner becomes completely contaminated by sin. Everywhere David looked he was reminded of his sin. David admitted his guilt.
    We cannot overcome the power of sin in our lives until we are honest about our sin. Confession requires us to agree with God regarding our sin and honestly acknowledge our sin.

    2. Break sin’s power.
    Only God can address the power of sin and set the prisoner free.
    1 Blot out my transgressions…Transgressions express themselves as rebellion in which a person seeks to contest the ownership of his life. Do I belong to Jesus or am I all about myself?
    Blot out… is a plea to cross out our rebellion so it will not bring judgment on us.
     2 Wash away my iniquity… Iniquity originates in the twisting of one’s heart to bend one’s ways. It grows into choosing wrong paths.
    Do my thoughts belong to Jesus or am I allowing ugliness in my heart?
    Wash away… reflects the desire to purge the soul of guilt and stain.
    2 Cleanse me from my sin… Sin is missing the mark because we were not attempting to conform to God’s best but to satisfy some other affections.
    Do I want to honor Jesus in all things or please myself?
    Cleanse me… records the desire to be told God forgives and loves us.
    The law in Leviticus 14:4-8 reveals the cleansing ceremony for the leper. In this act of worship, the one who was once covered by disease is pronounced clean and healthy. Every sinner wants to hear “all is forgiven.”
    4   what is evil in your sight… Evil speaks of all that is unwholesome, hurtful, disagreeable, ugly or corrupt. All evil/sin stands against God.
    Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.                        Isaiah 59:2
    David’s prayer covered the scope of his vocabulary in an effort to present every facet of his guilt to God. He knew God had seen everything. He wanted God to know he knew he had been very wrong.
    4 Against you, you only, have I sinned... From early times, sins against individuals were considered sin against God. Here was the king forgetting the “rights” he had by his position. No matter what society said, David knew he had sinned against human beings and against God.
    3. Claim God’s mercy.
    King David was a man of great merit. He had done many good things. In following the leadership of God in his life, he had suffered, been patient and accepted godly advice. When confronted with his sin, he did not respond to God with his genealogy, attributes, accomplishments or with a comparison of his life to that of someone else. 
    1Have mercy on me… Nothing David was, could do, or say merited God’s forgiveness. Only in God’s mercy could David turn to God.  
    O God, according to your unfailing love… Only in God’s love could David find hope. 
    According to your great compassion… David saw the scope of God’s lovingkindness. He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.                         Psalm 103:10-12
    The New International Version is the Bible translation used in this study.