Daily Devotional: Psalms 51:1-6
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 that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you-even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
John the baptizer came preaching repentance. Jesus sent his disciple throughout the land telling people to repent and turn back to God. This same message is echoed by most of the prophets of old. Even Noah preached righteousness, a message of repentance. Repentance is a military term meaning “to do an about face, to march in the opposite direction”. It is turning from sin to serve God.
This Psalm was written by David when he was confronted by Nathan the prophet concerning his sin against Uriah and Bathsheba. This story, and David’s response to being accused of his sin explains to us what it means to have a heart that is like the heart of God. The heart of David was set on pleasing God and doing what was right in every situation. But he sinned and tried to convince himself he was ok.
When he was confronted, he repented. He did not talk about how beautiful Bathsheba was or try to blame her because she had exposed her beauty. He said he had sinned against God. By committing adultery with Bathsheba and then by murdering her husband, he had done them wrong but the ultimate sin was against God. He asked God to forgive his sin, but he accepted the consequences of it.
O Lord, when I do wrong, help me be aware of it, to admit it, not blaming others or making excuses, but to repent and turn from it. Help me to always be honest with myself as I read your word and make application to my life. Give me faith that is great enough to accept your forgiveness and to be willing to forgive myself. Help me use my past mistakes to become better and to be able to help others do what is right. There are groups of your people who are struggling in many ways and I ask you to be with them and give them your peace. I pray in Jesus’ name.