Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Acknowledging A Sinful State

Psalm 51:1-19

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.  Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.  For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.  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.” (Psalm 51:1-4)

The contents of this Psalm seem to indicate that it was probably written at the time tradition says it was, just after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba, then had her husband, Uriah, killed.  David takes full responsibility for his sin, recognizing that he had gone directly against God’s law, not just some human tradition.  He asks forgiveness, but wants there to be no question he had been guilty and he deserved whatever punishment god might choose to administer. 

“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.  Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” (Psalm 51:5-6)

When caught in sin, people often attempt to imply their behavior was an aberration and not something they do on a regular basis.  David admitted that while this was the first time for committing adultery, it was a symptom of a much deeper problem.   God wants complete honesty in our hearts and minds. And for us to allow him to show what is right.  Most of us want to imply we are pretty good people, but as Romans 3:10-12 says, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”   While most people think they are pretty good, the truth is that no one is. 

Unless we are honest about our sinful nature, we cannot be forgiven according to I John 1:8-10.  “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”  Only when we acknowledge our sinful nature will we truly realize that we cannot do what is right and understand our need for a savior. 

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.  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.” (Psalm 51:7-10)

Hyssop appears to have been a member of the mint family and contains oils that made it effective for removing stains, killing bacteria and giving a clean fresh smell.  It was often used in ceremonial cleansing.  In effect, David is asking to be thoroughly cleansed, inside and out, with a whole new attitude, not just a stopping of the physical sin.  In the process, he asks that God would completely block out any remembrance of his sin.   It is what God has promised for those who believe in Jesus Christ, according to Hebrews 10:16-17.  “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”   When he does this every conflict between us and God is removed and we are Justified or made right with him.  Romans 5:1-2 describes the results.  “{Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

“Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.  Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.  Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.  Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.” (Psalm 51:11-14)

When the sense of guilt is removed, we can experience a close relationship with god, feeling the presence of his spirit and enjoying our Christian life.   We no longer worry about losing our salvation, even when we have gone so far as to kill another person.  Being a Christain becomes an enjoyable thing rather than a burden. 

“O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.  For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalm 51:15-17)

God wants an humble attitude that recognizes the person’s weakness and sinfulness, so that they will depend on him rather than trying to do it themselves.  He has no pleasure in our ritual efforts to please him, offering sacrifices or great accomplishments.  What pleases him is that we yield to him. 

“Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.  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.” (Psalm 51:18-19)

When people are aware of what another does for them, they tend to show their appreciation, but when they are not conscious of it they begin to be dissatisfied.  David asks that God make them aware of his actions in Jerusalem so that they will be appreciative of what he does.  Unfortunately, it is very easy for people to overlook what God does for them. 

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