Against You, You only... Renew and restore me
Psalm 51 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me.
4 Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins And blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation;
Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Your praise.
16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
18 By Your favor do good to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices, In burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar.
David’s sin was great. He had taken the wife of another man. When she became pregnant with his child, David arranged the death of her husband. The life of that child was hanging in the balance. In 2 Samuel 12:15-23 it says: the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David, so that he was very sick. David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them. 18 Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. How then can we tell him that the child is dead, since he might do himself harm!” But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; so David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And they said, “He is dead.” So David arose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he came to his own house, and when he requested, they set food before him and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the Lord may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” David understood something very important. While many people were affected by the consequences of His sin, David says: For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge. Sin, all sin is against God. It is disobedience and rebellion against His righteousness. It does not matter what our society or our culture has deemed acceptable. What is legal is not always what is right. As a king David had the legal authority to do all that he did, but surely it was not right, it was evil in God’s sight. In Isaiah 5:20, God says: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! God’s ways, His opinion of things is above what our society, our culture or even our government can deem acceptable.
Additionally David understood and accepted that God was not to blame. David accepted the responsibility for the consequences of his sin. Regardless of the outcome, David said God was justified and blameless. When we fall short, when we fail, we often tend to blame God for the consequences of our sin. We make poor decisions then ask why is God so far from me? Why won’t He answer my prayers? We need, like David, to understand that in reality the consequences of our sin are not God’s judgment. We are forgiven of our sin, no longer held responsible, no longer judged, because of the forgiveness of the cross. When God forgives our sin, as He says in Isaiah 43:25: "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” There are consequences of sin which can affect us and others for our entire lives, even for generations, but those consequences are not the continued judgment of God against us. When God forgives, He forgets, He blots out our transgressions as if they never existed. The blood of Jesus and the cross of Christ completely free us from the judgment of our sin.
When the child born of David’s sin died, David was not angry with God. Instead he worshipped Him. The consequences of David’s sin did live on, in fact there was dysfunction, disunity and rebellion in David’s household throughout his life and for generations. But watch the forgiveness and redemption of God! After the child died and David worshipped, 2 Samuel 12:24 says: Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her; and she gave birth to a son, and he named him Solomon. Now the Lord loved him. It was Solomon who was given David’s throne and it is through Solomon that the human line of Christ is traced. The consequences of sin may affect many for generations, but the forgiveness, the redemption and restoration of God through Christ is eternal. That Solomon, the son born of the redemption and restoration of David and Bathsheba, would be part of the line of Christ is a beautiful picture of God’s eternal redemption from sin.
May our heart be like David’s. May our prayer be like his: Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation;
Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Your praise… Thank You for the redemption, the reconciliation and restoration of the cross. Amen.