Thursday, February 21, 2008

Studying Psalm 51

Historical background: 2 Samuel 11 (after God sent prophet Nathan to confront David about his adultery with Bathsheba and murdering of her husband Uriah)

1. Psalm 51 is a CONFESSION and REPENTANCE psalm
of David after Nathan's confrontation.

Quoted from Ps Yueh Ping: 'It is one thing to write our confessions down. It is another (bigger) thing to write them for the nation (Jerusalem) to see. Psalm 51 then becomes a model for the people (and us) in confessing their sins to God.'

2. David knew that God cannot tolerate sin,
and sin destroys the relationship between man and God. Thus he reinforced his cries for God to forgive him through
“Blot out” (v1),
“wash me” (v2,7),
“cleanse me” (v2,7).

3. What is (and is not) Godly repentance?

God is not interested in our remorse or guilt-feelings. Guilt does not come from God. He desires repentance which draws us back to Him.

Remorse is mostly just about feeling bad. It is a temporary feeling of being sorry. They are like one-off burnt offerings that God takes no delight in. (v16).

God desires a broken spirit and a contrite heart (v17). This reflects a true heart of repentance – one that is not depended on our own strength or ability to walk right before God, but a life of total dependence before God, a constant dying to self and a commitment to draw near to our heavenly Father.

And the only way to be restored back to the Father and have a new clean heart and steadfast spirit? Ask God to create that pure heart in us.

4. What does this Psalm tell us about God when we repent before Him?
He keeps no records of our wrong. (v9)
He purifies us (v10)
He restores to us the joy of our salvation and gives us a willing spirit to sustain us. (v12)

5. Does this Psalm apply to you since you are not like David, who committed murder and adultery?
Yes. Verse 5 talks about the universality of sin. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. How then can be live a life free from sin?

A broken spirit – live a life of total dependence on God.
A contrite heart (vs 17) – Ask God for a Godly sorrow. Hide the fear of God in our hearts.

These two conditions bring us back to an attitude of total reliance and dependence on Christ.

Are there sins in your life that you need to confess before God? Bring them before God today. No sin is too small or too insignificant. Just like poison, a little is enough to contaminate and corrupt your life before the Lord. Ask the Lord to come and search your heart in the inner most parts and cry out to God to give you a broken spirit and a contrite heart so that you will always be open to the tutoring of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Resources (Base materials from Joshua Teo)
1. The New Century Bible Commentary (A. A. Anderson)
2. Treasury of David (Charles Spurgeon)
3. John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible

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