Ok let’s get going! This week we dive in to Psalms 51. To be completely honest, I somewhat was voluntold to do this one. It wasn’t my original plan, but I have enjoyed picking it apart. It is rich and deep. Psalm 51 is likely familiar to you. Familiar or not – stop right now, pull out your Bible or your phone, and read through its entirety.
Now that you have read (I am trusting you on this), a little back ground for you. Psalm 51 was written by David after coming to terms with his sin. 2 Samuel 11&12:1-24 is what is happening prior and during his writing of this Psalm. 2 Samuel is action packed and full of drama. So much so that 2 Samuel 11 starts with an affair and ends with murder. A quick run-down – David is chilling on the roof, spots Bathsheba, calls for her, has sex with her and she gets pregnant. Bathsheba is married to Uriah who is off fighting in the war. David tries to cover his tracks and “right his wrongs” by calling for Uriah to come home and encourages him to “go to his wife” (if you know what I am saying!). Uriah being the loyal soldier he is, won’t do it. Even after David takes a step forward and gets Uriah drunk he still won’t go home. So, what else is David to do but arrange the death of Uriah by putting him on the frontline. (Quick lesson here: we can’t right our own wrongs.)
According to commentary, David sits in his sin without repenting for a good amount of time. Several months pass – maybe even a year, and David has not confessed and repented of his sins to God. So, the Lord sent Nathan to speak truth and to help point David back to his first love – thus we get Psalm 51 – David’s repentance and reconciliation to God.
There is so much here for us – promises of reconciliation, unfailing love, great compassion and overwhelming grace. But for my sanity, I want to focus on three points.
1. We can be clean.
We are all sinners in this world (Romans 3:23). The only exception is Jesus Christ. None of us better than the other, all dirty on our own accord. But the good news, the Gospel, is that we are forgiven from our sin. True repentance, confessing and turning from our sin, results in unfailing love and compassion from the Good Father. God meets our sin with overwhelming grace. So much so that we don’t have to wear our scarlet letter or carry the guilt of our sin like a heavy load of dirty clothes. Not only does he forgive us but Hebrews 8:12 says “For I will forgive their wickedness and I will never again remember their sins.” If you have never confessed your sin and taken this step in becoming a believer in Jesus or you like David have been hiding in shadow of your sin for a season, follow David’s lead in Psalm 51:7 and pray “Purify me from my sins and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Dear friend, confess your sins and then walk as someone covered in righteousness of Jesus Christ not as someone cast down in shame.
2. Be the Nathan to your David.
As believers, we are called to repentance, but we are also called point others to Jesus with our words and our actions. Sometimes that means we bring to light the sin in the lives of our people. However, before we do that, we need to get ourselves together. Matthew 7:3-7 says “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of the log in your own eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrites! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Go get yo’ self together by repenting first (see point #1). Then at the Lord’s direction and only at the Lord’s direction, speak truth to your friend. Don’t be afraid to step on their toes, but most of all remind them of the grace and forgiveness that is given in place of their sin. After Nathan and David’s conversation, David was immediately convicted and turned from his sin. It is important to note that it took some time before David repented prior to this conversation. Being the Nathan to our David, doesn’t mean that our friends will automatically come back to God. Sometimes it means that we have a conversation and/or pray and believe God’s promises for them, waiting for their reconciliation. Don’t give up hope.
On a personal note, I hate confrontation. Being a Nathan stresses me out. There have been times in my life that I felt the Lord calling me to be a Nathan and I didn’t listen. I was fearful of burning a bridge and loosing a friend so I didn’t. Guess what, I lost the friend anyways. Moral of the story, be obedient no matter what the price, friends.
3. God doesn’t want our Sunday best. He wants our broken mess.
We will wrap up here with my favorite point of the post. I have come to terms that I am a lot messy and broken both literally (I type this with a broken foot) and figuratively. But I find so much hope in Psalm 51:17. It says “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” God doesn’t want us to clean up first before we come to Him. Get this, He already knows our biggest and darkest secrets, our most shameful moments, and our messy past. We don’t have to hide from Him. He wants us to come just as we are. The sacrifice he wants from us is our actual mess. God wants you and your sin, you and your anger, you and your broken heart, you and all your ugly. You don’t have to dress up to come to the throne. Bring it all. You won’t be rejected. In fact, not only will you be welcomed but your brokenness will be traded for beauty because of Jesus.
Thank you for mercy, grace and forgiveness. Help us to turn from our sin, point others to Jesus and to bring every part of our broken lives to you. You are the God of restoration and healing. We believe in you for that today.
For continued worship -