Tuesday, May 24, 2022

2022.05.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 51:9–19

Read Psalm 51:9–19

Questions from the Scripture text: What does David need before he can have cleansing (Psalm 51:9)? What will David need once his sin is both forgiven and wiped out (Psalm 51:10)? From where will this clean heart and steadfast spirit come (Psalm 51:11)? What else does His presence bring (Psalm 51:12)? And what will David do in response to this joy (Psalm 51:13)? How does he summarize his request in Psalm 51:14? How will he respond (Psalm 51:14-15)? What can’t obtain this deliverance (Psalm 51:16)? But what are the necessary circumstantial conditions which please God (Psalm 51:17)? For whom else does David hope this same forgiveness, cleansing, and new heart/joy (Psalm 51:18a)? With what result (Psalm 51:18-19)? 

As we saw in the first half of the Psalm, sinners sin because they have been sinners to the core from when they came into this world. We need desperately to be remade from the inside out (Psalm 51:10). Just for continuing to exist, we require the presence of God and the work of the Holy Spirit (Psalm 51:11).  

But before we can be cleansed, we must be forgiven. Sinners don’t deserve to be cleansed. As long as they have iniquity and guilt, the justice of God refuses to give us His life. And without His life, we cannot even begin to be cleansed. So David cries out in Psalm 51:9, “Hide your face from my sins, and blot out my iniquities,” and in Psalm 51:14, “Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God.” 

But we need to be cleansed not just so that we can start fresh, but so that we can fulfill our purpose: the praise and enjoyment of God. We need this clean heart and new, steadfast spirit so that we may sing aloud of God’s righteousness (Psalm 51:14c), and praise Him (Psalm 51:15b) with the lips that He Himself has opened (verse 15a). We need this clean heart and new, steadfast spirit so that we may rejoice with the joy of His salvation (Psalm 51:12a).

Ultimately, it’s not our sacrifices that God wants (Psalm 51:16). In the last four verses of the Psalm, David is responding to the goodness of God in having forgiven him and cleansed him. How greatly he wishes to honor and thank God! But what do you give to the God Who has everything? Answer: whatever He wants. And what He wants is the humble, grateful hearts of redeemed sinners. A broken spirit (Psalm 51:17a), a broken and a contrite heart (verse 17b)—God doesn’t actually need these things, but He is pleased to receive them. This, He does not despise (verse 17c). 

As David offers his heart to his merciful, forgiving God, he also expresses his desire for the good of God’s people. God is glorified in His church, His Zion, His Jerusalem (Psalm 51:18). And David’s desire is that they would be prospered in order to keep conducting that public worship (Psalm 51:19) in which God’s Name is praised by a great assembly of those who bring the sort of heart described in Psalm 51:17.

Come to God for forgiveness. So that you may be forgiven and cleansed. In order that your mouth may be opened with praise, and your heart filled with joy. As you join in worship with a multitude of others who have been saved by the same mercy!

What should you want to give God? What must happen before you can do so? With whom will you respond?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for blotting out our iniquities and delivering us from our guilt. Now, create in us clean hearts, restore to us the joy of our salvation, and open our lips so that our mouths may show forth Your praise! Receive our humble, thankful hearts. And delight in the corporate praise of this assembly of those whom You have thus redeemed in Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face” or TPH51C “God, Be Merciful to Me”

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