Psalm 51 Part 2
In this psalm, we see the true character of David and as we look at his response to God for the sin that he had committed, there are many lessons for us to learn. We need to understand the biblical meaning of repentance, in the Old Testament it means to “turn around” and this was the meaning I understood for most of my life. The New Testament meaning is “To change the way that we think” which is very profound and challenges me to examine myself and ask the question have I repented? While we can feel sorry for what we have done, feeling sorry does not mean that we have repented – we have to change the way that we think to repent. As we look at the psalm we see that David’s action closely aligns with the New Testament meaning of repentance. Before we look at in detail what David wrote there is one thing that stands out – he did not try to justify or excuse his behaviour, he admitted that what he had done was wrong. This highlights a very important attitude to guard against – if we do something that is not right there can be the danger of trying to justify our actions and try not to do it again but that is not repentance. Now let us look at the first two verses of this psalm which says: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your loving-kindness; according to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions, wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin”. David highlights a most important consideration – he declared the greatness of God’s nature – it is easy at times to forget His great love and compassion to us. Recently I watched a three-minute video that portrayed the suffering of Jesus, I came away in awe of my Saviour who loved me so much to suffer that way. David also recognised that God was the only one who could cleanse him from his transgressions. He realised that God was the only one that could cleanse him from his sin so that he could live the rest of his life in fellowship with his Lord. Next in verses 3 & 4a, he says: “For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done this evil in your sight”. While other people were affected by David’s wrong behaviour, he declared that it was against God that he had sinned. At times it is easy to excuse our behaviour in the environment in which we live but the bottom line is that when we sin, we sin against God. In David’s position as king, it would have been easy for him to justify his actions but he did not want to cover up his wrong actions – he wanted to have a close relationship with his Lord. This is a great lesson for us, we must guard against any attitude that stops our close relationship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for that is how we enjoy our salvation.