The printing of the NIV study bible that I have introduces Psalm 51 by saying.. “For the Director of Music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. ” Psalm 51 is a Psalm of contrition. David, upon being shown his sin by the prophet Nathan, writes Psalm 51. Read the whole Psalm and listen for David’s heart condition. Listen for the way David feels about his own actions and choices. Note that he never blames anyone else, or tries to justify his actions.
For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. 1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15 Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. 18 May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
Any real life change must start with a realistic look at yourself and what God may want to change about you or your thinking. Many times I compare myself to other people. Typically, I try and choose people who make me look good. 🙂 “Well, I’m not soooo bad compared to her.” But God wants us to measure ourselves by His standard, to “find out what pleases the Lord” so to speak. When I do this, I begin to feel more like David felt when he wrote this Psalm. In my humble opinion, there’s no greater stinker than a christian without a contrite heart. We can be so self-righteous and become focused on all the wrong things, when we aren’t in the regular habit of humbling ourselves before God and confessing our sin . In my experience, one of the greatest stumbling blocks that the lost have, are the Christians who “feel good about themselves”. Neither my husband or myself have ever been unfaithful in a physical sense, but I had been unfaithfully desiring a different kind of husband. I was desiring a husband who provided better financially, so I could stay home with my kids…. a more thoughtful husband who didn’t leave his socks on the floor or his dirty dishes in the sink. Perhaps even a husband who had a less demanding job. Someone who was more thoughtful, who never lost his temper or who would ask for directions sooner….. 🙂 David’s sin was physical, mine emotional….still sin. My life began to change when I began to take responsibility for the only variable within my control…. me. I asked God to show me my sin and He was faithful to oblige.