Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Sinner's Prayer

Without question, Psalm 51: 1-19 is the most famous penitential psalm in all the bible. This classic text incisively treats themes of sin, repentance, forgiveness, confession.

The occasion of the Psalm depicts the aftermath of David's sin with Bathsheba, his murder of Uriah, and his response to Nathan's "Thou art the man" confrontation.

As soon as Nathan leaves, David collapses by the side of his bed weeping bitterly. The weight of his crimes weigh heavily on his heart. In desperation and shame, he cries out to God for help:
Ps. 51: 1-6 He pleads for mercy on the basis of the steadfast love of the Lord

Ps. 51: 6-12 He begs for cleansing. Sin has contaminated his soul; he feels dirty and polluted and wants to be made clean, so he says, "Create in me a clean heart, O God...." Ps. 51: 10

Ps. 51: 13-15 Once sin's compromising effects are removed, David feels he will be able to minister to others who might be in similar conditions - then I will teach transgressors your ways and sinners will return to you.

Psalm 51: 16-19 David is aware that God delights in sincerity, heartfelt contrition above sacrifices and burnt offerings. God will never despise sincere repentance and turning from sin.

Throughout my walk with the Lord, I can think of times when I was acutely aware of the unpleasantness of my failures and sins. It was Psalm 51 that rescued me; delivered me from Satan's accusations, and gave me the courage to lift up my wounded soul to the Lord, and pointed me back to my merciful Savior! This Psalm gives great assurance that God will forgive all those who confess their sin to God. Hallelujah!!

Lord, you desire that your children do not sin. But when we sin, we are thankful that we have an advocate in Jesus Christ. His blood interposes and washes away the sin of those who truly repent. Thank you for your patience to never leave us or forsake us, through our Redeemer and Savior, amen.