Psalm 51 is a study of repentance. David, King of Israel broke three of God's commandments. Thou shall not covenant your neighbor wife, thou shall not commit adultery, and thou shall not kill(Exodus 20). David fully understood that he had broken these commandments. However, he was comfortable in his sin.
God sends Nathan to David and Nathan tells David a parable about a rich man who has everything and takes from a poor man who has very little, something that he values very much. David rises up in anger and self-righteousness 2 Samuel 12:5 And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die. We are quick to pass judgment on others while dismissing our own flaws and mistakes.
2 Samuel 12:7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. The truth of Nathan's words must have hit David like a sledgehammer. Thou are the man. David covet his neighbor's wife, committed adultery with her and put a hit out on the life of her husband. He betrayed someone that was fiercely loyal to him. He gave Uriah the Hittite a death warrant and had him deliver it to the person that would carry it out. Wow. That is heartless and the ultimate betrayal.
Thou are the man. David finally feels the weight of his sin upon him. The child that was born to him would die. Too often we do not realize how our actions will affect those around us. It is from the place of realization that David writes, Psalm 51. It is not a private confession but one to be shared with others that they may learn from his mistakes.
The first thing David cries out for is mercy. Psalm 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Have mercy - don't deal with me according to my foolishness and my sin. Deal with me according to your lovingkindness and the multitude of your tender mercies. In other words, David is saying, I have no grounds to stand on. I am depending on your mercy towards me. What a mess we would be if God dealt with us according to our sin. Thank God for his grace, the unmerited favor of God toward man. Thank God for his mercy, not giving us the punishment we deserve.
The next request David makes is "Blot out my transgression". Webster defines Blot: to make obscure, insignificant, or inconsequential 2: wipe out, destroy. David is asking God to wipe out his sin. Then he asks "Psalm 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Now, he recognizes his true condition and understands his sin makes him filthy. Where before Nathan confronted him, he was comfortable in his sin. To sin and be comfortable in what you have done, is a dangerous place to be in. David takes it yet another step: Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. He has already asked God to blot out the sin, now he asks to be wash thoroughly. Have you ever wash clothing and still find there is a stain that won't come completely out?. Sin can leave a stain. True cleansing can only take place through the blood of Jesus that washes away every stain of sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Ahh, here we are at the heart of the matter. I acknowledge, admit to being true, own up to my mistakes, and take responsibility for my actions. David is now painfully aware of the fact that he has disappointed and hurt God. So many times when we sin, we seek to justify or blame someone else. We say things like "look at what you made me do" or "If you had not done what you did, I would not have done this", No David is beyond denial at this point. He acknowledges his sin. Acknowledgment is the first step to repentance.
SPEAK THE ANSWER NOT THE PROBLEM. THE ANSWER IS THE WORD OF GOD Heavenly father we come to your throne with a repentant heart. Forgive us for our sins, our flaws, our secret faults, mistakes and anything we do that does not line up with your word. Give us a heart that is tender towards you and a spirit that is quick to repent. Help us to do better every day of our lives and to live a life that is more pleasing to you. Holy Spirit, we pray that you will not let us become insensitive and comfortable in our sin or look upon our mistakes as something that just happen, it is the way I am. No, let us acknowledge our faults and seek your help with inner struggles and fears. We have been given the victory through the blood of the lamb and been cleansed through the power of the blood. We are made whole through your holy word. Help us to strive to be that which you have called us to be, Holy. We want to be Holy because you demand us to be Holy as you are because we are your children. We thank you, heavenly father, for your tender mercy and loving kindness to us.