Today: [Psa 51:1-19 KJV] Create in Me a Clean Heart. In this psalm we see David’s inmost thoughts when Nathan confronted him over the matter with Bathsheba. David is contrite and deeply humbled before God. He cries out not just for blotting out of the record of his offense but for the sin principle itself to be removed from his life. Do you sin? If you had sin in your life would you be able to be openly contrite as David? What happens to sin once we are forgiven and born again?
1 [[To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.]] Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin [is] ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done [this] evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, [and] be clear when thou judgest. 5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
In this chapter we find disclosed to us the inmost thoughts of David during the ordeal with Bathsheba and Uriah. After committing adultery with Bathsheba David finds that she is pregnant. He colludes with his general Joab for Uriah to die on the battlefield. The prophet Nathan approaches David and openly reproves him of his sin. This was not only scandalous to the people but David himself was deeply exposed because Nathan was not only a national leader but a dear friend. Even after Nathan rebukes David there is a child (by Bathsheba no less) that David names Nathan.
This psalm is classified by devotional scholars as a “penintential psalm” of David in that it records David repentance and contrition over the matter with Bathsheba. There are actually 7 penintential psalms that a 7th century scholar by the name of Cassiodorus identifies. There are some translators who render this chapter as recording that Nathan actually entered the king’s bedchamber when he was in the act itself with Bathsheba. Whatever be the case for David to afterward be so open in his repentance is remarkable. It is the unique trait of the sacred histories that they openly record the sins of the people instead of purging the worst actions of the king and the people and only archiving the sanitized version of events. For me this is one of the earmarks of the inspiration of the scriptures. The writers feared God. The people and the kings walked in a humility that we in the modern day would do well to emulate.
David in this psalm doesn’t make any excuses for his actions when he approaches God. In verse 1 he simply cries out for mercy. What does David expect or hope for from the hand of God? It is an indication of what we might expect when we approach God in regard to our own sins that are as numerable and no doubt as obnoxious at times as David’s. David is our example of a penitent heart.
David petitions the Father to “blot out” his sins. The Hebrew word for blot out here gives us some understanding of God’s posture toward our iniquities. It means to “rub over, to stroke, to wipe away or to wipe off”. For us we would think of an eraser with a pencil erasing an accusation against us. We can look even deeper at this word “blot”. It conveys a word picture of someone taking out the marrow of a bone and hollowing it out. This tells us that David was desiring a whole lot more than just expunging his record. He is asking the Father not only to forgive the act but to deliver him from the sin nature itself that inspired the act.
What is the sin nature? The sin nature is that principle or living dynamic in the nature of every person to be rebellious against God. It is more than an act or a series of actions by a people or an individual. All of us have a sin nature that affects every one of us. Theologians debate about the subject of the “total depravity of man”. This is that doctrine that holds that man because of the fall is corrupt in his mind, will and emotion and is in fact born in that state. The apostle Paul states:
[Rom 3:10-18 KJV] 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat [is] an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips: 14 Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet [are] swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery [are] in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
In view of the depraved nature of man we need not to reform merely our acts but in our very core. We need a savior. We might ask the question what happens to the sin nature after we become born again? Paul says this:
[2Co 5:16-18 KJV] 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more. 17 Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
Now we are a new creature but as verse 16 above tells us there is still the flesh present with us. Even as a believer and an apostle for that matter Paul observed that sin was still present with him in what is referred to as the “flesh nature”:
[Rom 7:20 KJV] 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
What difference does it make then for the believer? For us as believers the incorruptible seed of Christ on the inside of us makes sin an option. We do not have to sin. The unredeemed, those not born again have no choice. We on the other hand are not servants of sin unto condemnation but servants of God unto righteousness.
6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden [part] thou shalt make me to know wisdom. 7 Purge 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; [that] the bones [which] thou hast broken may rejoice. 9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me [with thy] free spirit.
When David says he is born in sin and shapen in inquity the wording here describes someone locked up in a cage. Actually to be more specific it is descriptive of someone LOCKED OUT from God’s presence. Just as Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden so man is excluded from God consciousness because of inborn sin. This is why it wasn’t until after man fell that he knew he was naked. Before the fall they were naked but didn’t realize it because they were more God conscious then they were self-conscious. In the sinful condition self-consciousness eclipses God consciousness. Because self-consciousness usurps God consciousness in the fall man sees nothing other to serve than himself. That is why we are called to preach the gospel and make man aware of who God is. Then man makes a choice and God answers the prayer that David prays and creates a clean heart within him.
13 [Then] will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. 14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: [and] my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. 15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. 16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give [it]: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. 18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.
When David’s heart is cleansed his immediate response is to teach transgressors His ways. A truly born again person is identifiable and recognizable even by those who don’t believe. A truly born again person does not hide his light under a bushel basket. Jesus is the light that lights every man that comes into the world. When the death shroud of the sinful self is cleansed then He becomes as Paul said the light that shines out of our former darkness and we become a living declaration of the light of God. Reading this makes you want to sing that song “I want to be born again AGAIN…” doesn’t it?
Verse 12 speaks of salvation as a restoration – specifically of joy. When a person is born again he is restored to something that was originated in him before the fall. The FREE SPIRIT of God fills us and chains of sin once holding us fast are now broken. For the first time we are free, cleansed an in our original created state before God. Moving forward in our Christian faith the enemy may attempt to corrupt us again but we can return again and again as necessary to the cleansing flow of the spirit of God for us through the shed blood of Calvary. We are maintained the same way we are redeemed – not by religious culture or dead works but by the blood of the Lamb found dripping by the death angel on the door post of our heart – and he passes on.
What must one do to be saved? When you have failed and faltered and there is no escape from your guilt what is our recourse? Verse 17 tells us – come to God in our brokenness. Bring Him our contrition. We don’t have to prove anything to Him – just run to him as David did. God did not despise David in his repentance. It is very sad that when public figures repent not only the world but the church community despises them and refuses to forgive. We must not marginalize the contrition of man. It isn’t up to us to judge. If a public figure or someone in our life repents, forgive them – we might be the next person called upon to make amends. God will receive you and forgive you and send you on your way with a new joy and new purpose every time.
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