Forgive me, O Lord, and Restore a Right Spirit within Me.
In Psalm 51, David pours out his heart to God for forgiveness.
He had sinned terribly, by adultery; and then, the fixed murder of the woman’s husband.
Worse, he had refused to seek forgiveness for it, trying to hide it; until God sent someone to show him that God knew, and was very displeased.
Sin is rebellion against God. It is seeking my will over His Will; seeking to have me as ruler of my life, even in just this one thing.
This is what happened to David. It started innocently enough. He had been home from the war with the Ammonites. And he wanted to stay home; to have a little more rest and relaxation than God wanted. It was the time for kings to go out to war, and he should have been at the head of his army.
2 Samuel 11:1 “And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.”
But instead, he stayed in Jerusalem, and “took time off”. He was sleeping all day, and got up; and went on top of the roof of his house, when he saw Bathsheba.
If he had been at the battle, all the other things would not have happened.
He first lusted after a little more rest. (Was his army “resting”? Did he think because he was king, he could skip his duty?)
Then he lusted after a woman. And when lust was conceived: sin.
Instead of setting it right, he continued in it for months; for Bathsheba told him she was “with child”.
Then, came the choice of a lifetime. David comes up with the plan to dupe her husband into thinking the child was his.
This did not work, so he plans it, that the husband would be killed by the enemy.
2 Samuel 11:15 “And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.”
David, even now was not repentant.
You wonder how a man so close to God, could be so overcome with sin! But, the truth is, we underestimate the power sin has on our life. It’s power grows as we refuse to deal with it. Had David stopped, and sought forgiveness after the first sin with Bathsheba; God’s power would have easily overcome the power of the lust; and saved him from continuing on to deceit, and murder. (2 Samuel 12:9)
He went on, till God had to send someone to him. First the rebuke, then the chastening.
David was forgiven; but suffered by illness, and rebellion in his children because of his sin. He was not paying for his sins; but reaping what he had sown.
Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
Though David sinned terribly, yet he repented greatly. True repentance comes, as we come to God, without merit of any kind from ourselves, to get an answer from God, Himself. Not to just be satisfied with the seeking of forgiveness; but the word of forgiveness from God, personally.
Psalm 51:1-2 “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”
David calls upon God for mercy. Mercy presupposes sin. And David had sinned. And he knew it. He had known within his heart for months, and he had known it by the word of the Lord through His servant. The rebuke brought about the right results. He sought for spiritual mercy.
It is the benevolence and kindness of God to a sinner, who seeks forgiveness, and salvation from their sins.
In God’s mercy, was his only hope, and so David’s faith reached out to that character of God, and cries for God’s mercy. It is only in God himself that the wiping away of sin could be found. (For the promise of the coming Messiah, who would bring victory over sin, and sin’s consequences, was known. And all who trusted in God, looked forward to Him.)
David could do nothing. There was no sacrifice for the sin he had committed, “else he would give it”
Psalm 51:16 “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offerings.”
The mercy he asks of God was “according to his loving kindness”; according to the character of God.
He did not know whether God would hear his cry; for David had turned a deaf ear to God.
He wasn’t asking because he had earned it, even with the repentance.
He was asking God to do according as His character was.
And David spoke plainly concerning his sin.
“Blot out my transgressions”, or “revoltings”. These acts he had committed were not “slips”, or just defective obedience. No, they were acts of rebellion against God.
David had revolted against God’s rule in his life, and wanted to do his own will.
His actions were great perversity; the twisting of God’s grace into sin.
God had given David the kingdom, and great help in all that he had done; and with God looking on, David had misused the grace, and despised His goodness.
What would God do with him?
He wanted forgiveness; he would not be able to come before God without it; but he wanted complete removal of all this defilement within.
To be throughly washed from his the mass of his filthiness, and iniquity!
Here is a way we can all test ourselves and “our repentance”.
Are we content if we just ask for forgiveness, and not to seek cleansing?
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
It is forgiveness and cleansing.
God had sent a man to rebuke him. This was a great grace, not to let him continue in his rebellion.
God had made David willing to confess, so he asks God to finish the work of grace within him. To forgive and cleanse him.
Psalm 51:9-10 “Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
God’s “hiding” His face from our sins, is putting them away. (Psalm 103:12)
So David prays for a new life.
“Create in me a clean heart” cries out for a new heart within him. David realizes that he will revolt again, if God does not give him clean affections. And God needs to create them within him.
Give me a submissive heart, and make me steadfast to You.
Psalm 51:11-12 “Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and up hold me with thy free spirit.”
Do not leave me to my own way.
Do not throw me away; or take away Your Holy Spirit from me.
David had know the joy of God in His life, and he prayed that it would be restored.
And that he would be kept (“lead me not into temptation, and deliver me from evil”, as the Lord Jesus taught us to pray. Matthew 6:13) from falling into evil again.
To be free from sin is true freedom indeed.
Sin is the worst bondage.
Though some call it “freedom”; it enslaves, by a constant growing desire for “more, more, more”.
With each step forward, the slave is “unknowingly” sinking. As quicksand does not suck the victim in immediately, but slowly brings him down, till the mire covers his head in death; so sin does the same.
Only God can free us from sin.
First, He brings us to repentance: a “repentance not to be repented of”.
2 Corinthians 7:10 “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”
Do we want to be free from our sin, or just the consequences of it?
Second, He leads us to Christ.
John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
Third, He leads us in the desire for true liberty of Spirit, which is the freeing us of the power of sin over us.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
David’s faith in God, lead him to cry to God, for this forgiveness and cleansing.
The desire to be able to worship, and come near God again.
Is this what we want, as well?
Christ’s Sacrifice is able to cleanse us from all sin.
Will we seek it from Him?