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  Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #182
Posted: September 15,2009

PSALM 51:1-3


Let us begin to unpack Psalm 51. It has been called by some ‘The Sinners Guide To Repentance’. It was written probably soon after David’s sin with Bathsheba and Nathan the prophet’s message of ‘Thou art the man’. It was said by Luther that this Psalm is the most repeated of all prayers in the Psalms.

            Let us look this week at verses 1-3 of which I call ‘The Approach Of The Repentant’. I want to look at verse 1 where I find ‘The Approach Of Abasement’. The word ‘repentant’ means one who has experienced repentance and a change of mind about sin. David comes in a great sense of humility. His cry is for God to have mercy upon him. He does not remind God of his name, David. He feels he has brought great shame to the Lord. He cries for mercy to ‘O God’. He does not say, ‘O my God’. He doesn’t want to remind the Lord that he has fallen from such a distance as His child. My, what a grand approach of abasement before the Almighty God. He cries unto the Lord for three base qualities; mercy, loving kindness, and His tender mercies. Mercy means to withhold from him what he deserves. The word, loving kindness, is a cry for God to stoop down, reach into this world of sin, lift him out, and pull him to His side. This is exactly what the woman did in Luke 15 with the lost coin. She swept the floor and was left with a pile of unwanted debris. She stooped down, reached in, lifted out the coin, and drew it to her bosom.

            I find in verse 2 ‘The Approach Of Absolution’. The phrase ‘tender mercies’ is the love of a young girl for a recently conceived fetus living inside her. David’s desire in this humbling approach is that God would blot out his transgressions. The word ‘transgression’ is those times when one has stepped beyond God’s boundary lines. David is aware that there are multiple transgressions. The word ‘blot’ means to draw a deep line through the list of my sins and obliterate them. David knows the line must be scratched deep for his sins are many. The word ‘blot’ also has the idea of a asking the Lord, ‘do you have any kind of liquid that when applied, my transgressions will be gone?’ David desires God’s total absolution of forgiveness. Let me remind us with the shedding of the blood there is total remission. My, what a liquid

In the second verse of this approach of absolution he desires God to wash him. His iniquity and sin has left him so defiled and unclean. Only one of our God’s baths could possibly make us acceptable in His presence. My desire is, Lord give me clean hands and a pure heart. David’s desire is for a thorough washing and cleansing. The words used here for sin and iniquity is words of missing the mark. David knows that his sin has definitely missed God’s mark of what is right. 

In verse 3 I find ‘The Approach Of Acknowledgement’. David’s approach is to claim that he is totally responsible for his sins. He doesn’t blame it on Bathsheba. His cry is that ‘I have sinned O Lord’. He is overwhelmed with weighty conviction about sin when he says it is ever before me.  David has certainly given a real guide here in the lesson of true repentance for our sins.