Psalm 51

David Nelson   -  

March 17, 2024

Oh Lord, what a glorious thing that we are not all dead right now.

You created people, formed us from the dust, breathed your own breath into our lungs, and we use that breath to rebel against you and treat you with contempt.

If you were anything like us, Lord — who feel slighted not getting our spot on the highway, who feel offended by a tone of voice, who lash out waiting in line — if you were anything like us Lord when we feel wronged, we would all be dead.

David here, in particular, had sinned to a degree that seems unbelievable for a man said to be, “After God’s own heart.”

He lazily stayed behind while his troops went off to fight. He lusted after a woman who was doing something godly – washing herself after a period of uncleanness.

He then took his opportunity to send for this married woman whose husband was among those fighting.

Whether or not Bathsheba knew what David’s intentions were, what Bathsheba’s intentions were, we probably will never know.

He slept with her and after finding out he impregnated this woman who was not his wife, but the wife of his brother at arms … he called one of Israel’s best soldiers off the battlefield to get him drunk to have sex with Bathsheba… dehumanizing her in the process to try and cover up his own sin … but even in a stupor Uriah proved his righteousness: “Why should I go home and enjoy pleasantries when my fellow Israelites are at war?”

David then, abusing his kingship — this position of power that God Himself installed him into — and annoyed by Uriah’s righteous heart … David heartlessly sent Uriah to the front of the battle lines, told his own military captain to stop fighting God’s battles in order to ensure the death of this one man … all so he could have someone else’s wife and ease his conscience in the process.

The fact, Oh Lord, you allowed David to breathe, let alone get married and have a baby … is a stunning act of grace.

Even more, you sent Nathan to confront David and tell him his sin, not allowing David to die in ignorance. And here in this Psalm, Lord, we see the repentance … not David’s repentance, not the repentance we ourselves can muster through our own tear ducts and feelings of guilt … but the supernatural repentance your Holy Spirit brings as a free gift.

So, Lord, we start by saying thank you … thank you that even in our sins, even unrepentant sins, you allow us to breathe, to marry, have children, and dare we imagine: Even approach your holy throne begging for forgiveness.

“According to your abundant mercy, Lord, blot out our transgressions…”

Make our sins real and before us through your Spirit or godly people like Nathan or bold friends who care about us …. Put our sins in front of us, that we may bring them to you.

Lord, even though these sins might be against specific people, as David’s were against Uriah, Bathsheba, and even his own child … ultimately all sin is a rebellion against you and treating with contempt your glory, your majesty, your laws, your creation.

Lord, you would be justified at killing us all … since all have sinned you would be blameless in such an act … and yet Lord we breathe … so we pour out our breath in humble, heartfelt, apologies to you: our matchless Master and King.

Cleanse us Lord with holy hyssop and we will be whiter than snow.

Sing to us Lord, the song of salvation — of joy and gladness at your stunning saving grace and forgiveness.

Mend up the bones you have rightly broken — repair the ways in which we have felt the consequences of our sins.

Hide your face from our sins, Lord, but do not hide your face from us — for you are the one we truly need and the one our heart truly longs for when we go off into our sins and lusts and idolatries.

Uphold us, Lord, keep us in your grace despite our gracelessness. And provoke within us a hatred, disgust, and fear of this sin within ourselves that we might be boldly tell others, “Do not go looking for life there — you will only find death and destruction.”

And help us not passover the innocent death that must occur as a result of our sins.

Help us Lord to feel the injustice of the death of David’s son as the result of David’s sin … that we might recognize the injustice of the death of David’s future son — Jesus Christ who innocently died on the cross for our sins he did not commit.

He shed the blood we deserved to shed. He bore the accusations and contempt we deserved to feel. He tasted the death we deserve to have tasted.

And yet, Lord, you give us sinners breath, while you take away Christ’s, that we might breathe our thanks, and praise, and repentance out to you.

So help us to do so, Lord this day, this week, and for as long we wrestle with sin in this life.

And all God’s people said, Amen.