Well, this serves as my first plunge into the world of blogging. It’s only taken me two years to make this decision. Mainly because I was scared about what I might say. Yep, that’s right, I don’t always trust my mind, my intentions, or my own strong will. Which is why I named this blog psalmfiftyone.
Psalm 51, is one of my favorite chapters in the bible, not necessarily because it’s about David’s cry to the Lord to forgive him of his sin, but the fact that David, after having an affair with Bathsheba is humbled by his own depravity and in turn recognizes his great need for God. To me, David’s plea to the Lord in this Psalm almost completely summarizes the gospel, but with rich undertones of humility and reverence toward our need for God. I see us all as little David’s, who may not have committed adultery in the physical, but we’ve all committed it toward God in our hearts at one time or another. Whether it was in the form of idolatry, lies, slander, greed, gossip, you name it, we all fall short of the glory of God. And that is what makes Psalm 51 such a powerful image of the gospel.
It starts out in verses 1-6 with David recognizing that God has unfailing love for us and great compassion, even though we’re sinners. What a succinct and perfect way to explain the doctrine of grace. God’s love for us is unfailing, even though we were/are yet sinners. Therefore, there’s nothing we can do to earn it, it’s a gift, and it’s simply up to us to accept that gift. David admits to his sin (repentance) even from birth, and tells God that he’s justified in judging him.
Then, something amazing happens in verses 7-12. He strikes off into a plea to God, to cleanse him, to restore his joy, to sustain him, to create a pure heart, to keep him by the presence of the Holy Spirit, and to restore to him the joy of his salvation. Incredible! These five verses alone tell the story of the New Testament. God comes in the form of a man, dies on the cross to cleanse us from our sins, to restore our joy, to sustain us, to create a pure heart in us – by writing his law upon our hearts. After Christ’s death and resurrection he sends his Holy Spirit just as he promised, and restores to us the joy of our salvation in Jesus.
In verse 13, he doesn’t lose focus by seeing his salvation as only a personal spiritual experience. Instead, he sees that his salvation is tied to a calling. A calling to then go out and share his salvation with others, and to teach them about Christ so that they too can experience the joy of salvation. The great commission, made simple 😉
In verse 14-15, we see him recognizing Christ as his personal Savior. As a result of his gratefulness he asks the Lord to open his lips, so that he can declare his praise. These two verses summarize the whole reason we were created. To accept Christ as our Lord and Savior and to glorify him. Rev 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
In verses 16-17, he foreshadows our transition from the Old Covenant (burnt offerings, which never alone pleased God) into the New Covenant of Grace. Grace, only realized under the condition of a broken and contrite heart – Hebrews 10:8-10. A humility that accepts that there is nothing that we can ever do to deserve it.
In regard to verses 18-19, they appear to contradict what David just said in verses 16-17. Apparently, they were added to this Psalm later on by the Jewish people, because they wanted walls rebuilt around Jerusalem that had been destroyed by the King of Babylon. In addition, they wanted the temple built again, so that they could sacrifice animals to God, again. If anything, it provides great contrast between the message of grace and our pride that blocks us from wanting to accept God’s grace.