King David wrote all three of these psalms at different times in his life. One truth jumps off the page and onto our radar screen: When we sin it does not just affect us but it affects everyone. In fact, as David reveals to us; when we sin we are sinning, despising, rebelling, and are walking independently against The Lord God Almighty. Just as David had allowed his affection to turn inward, we do the same more often than we would like to admit. He had fallen: lust of the eyes led to adultery and then to murder of an innocent man. For a year he had been silent but then when continually unrepentant, God used the prophet Nathan to confront him. Hearing he was “the” man David confessed his sin and opened his heart gate to God. These psalms reflect his thinking and his actions. May we learn from him so we do not have to “do another lap around the wilderness.”
One truth comes forth from David’s repentant heart: 51:4 Against you – you above all – I have sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. So you are just when you confront me; you are right when you condemn me. Notice David recognized where he was spiritually and that is key for us as well and that God was just in His confrontation through Nathan. David’s heart was soft to hear the words of God. Are our hearts the same?
Secondly, David sought cleansing and a renewed heart which is key to restoration: 51:10 Create for me a pure heart, O God! Renew a resolute spirit within me! Do we pray and ask God to change our heart?
Thirdly, David sought help from God: 51:12 Sustain me by giving me the desire to obey! How often do we admit our sin, seek cleansing but fail to implement this third step?
Fourthly, when we are restored, God does not want us to waste this experience but to teach others, to testify: 51:13 Then I will teach rebels your merciful ways, and that is what God wants for us. Do you have a story of restoration that you can share to encourage others who are going through these steps?
A practical side benefit to this psalm is that if we are open to walk through these steps, God can and will use us in His service to carry forth His message of love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace.