Day 10: Psalm 51
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
Psalm 51 (NIV)
How do we respond when confronted with our sin? Psalm 51 expands on King David’s immediate response (see 2 Samuel 12:13) when God sent a prophet to confront David’s sins of selfishness, deceit, adultery, and murder. Descriptive words such as unfailing love, great compassion, justified, and righteousness provide a glimpse of David’s perception of God. He used these words after hearing the grave consequences of his sin. His intimate knowledge of the true nature of God meant instead of responding with defensiveness and justification, he confessed, repented, and recognized his desperate need of God’s power to cleanse him from sin, purify his heart, and restore joy.
During this season of Lent, as we eliminate potential distractions and focus on the mercy extended at the cross, it is a good time to ask God to confront us with our sin. Like David, our response may reveal our perception of God and the state of our relationship with Him. Let’s humble ourselves and admit we may be carrying some misconceptions and unknowns about God. While studying various scriptures in the days and weeks to come, ask and expect Him to reveal His character, expose lies we view as truth, and grant us the ability to view sin through His holy, loving eyes. As we increasingly know Him, may we more accurately reflect Him.