Psalm 51 Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Recite the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.

  1. The background to this Psalm most expositors agree is found in 2 Samuel chapter 11, the account of King David’s adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah.
  2. This is a penitential song, a plea by David for forgiveness to God due to his sinful behavior. He is asking for mercy, and this based on the steadfast and sure love of God. He is convinced that God will “blot out my transgressions.”
  3. David is so very aware of his transgressions, in fact, his sin is on his mind and heart continually. He honestly acknowledges his sin and admits God is just in His judgment of him.
  4. He knows his sin must be cleansed, blotted out, forgiven. He pleads for God to “create in me a clean heart” and to “restore to me the joy of your salvation.”         
  5. We are drawn now to the finished work of Jesus on the cross, that sacrifice for sin, whereby our sin may be removed, forgiven, forever erased.
  6. We are like King David, the chosen one of God, the one from whom the Messiah would come. Jesus makes it clear in Matthew 5: 27-28, we are not unlike David and his sinning.
  7. Why is this story about the great King of Israel in the Scripture? Why was it not edited out? Because expositors point out that if this could happen to David it could happen to anyone. And we find in this story the consequences of sin and how it can bring chaos and misery into our lives.
  8. It is also a story of grace and mercy and love—all coming from our God. There is forgiveness and renewed joy and thanksgiving.
  9. Over the centuries great numbers of us Christians have found hope from this incredible Psalm.

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