If you are like the majority of us you have had the opportunity to find yourself in a situation that seemed utterly hopeless, wondering how you ended up this way; how you could have blown it so badly. This is true of all men and women at some point in their lives dating from the time of Adam and Eve. The key to responding to this situation however is found in the actions of the Psalmist as he wrote Psalm 51. The wording leads us to believe that the author is King David and the event is regarding his actions of adultery, lying and murder. He had blown it in a really big way and in this Psalm we see how he responded.
As we read through the Psalm we see him pleading with God for mercy. Do you see what he is asking for? “Extend your grace to me according to your lovingkindness and compassion.” (v. 1) “Wash me from my iniquity, cleanse me from my sin.” (v. 2) “Purify me with hyssop and I shall be clean.” (v. 7) “Blot out all my iniquities.” (v. 9) “Create in me a clean heart!!” (v. 10) Among these and many other things requested we see a changed heart. We need to realize that the heart is the source of our actions. It alone drives us to do what we do and in the case of the Psalmist it led to an adulterous relationship, lying about it and eventually murder to cover it up.
Now we’ve never been involved in such treachery, have we? Probably not to that degree, but it matters not for “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That brings us to the heart of the matter. A change of heart, in fact. An acceptance of responsibility, an acceptance of accountability, and acceptance of the fact that only God can lead us out the predicament we got ourselves into. Have you ever begged for anything in your life? David begged God for mercy and cleansing and restoration to Him. He understood the need for a changed heart that was “broken and contrite” (v. 17). David’s heart had led him into these activities and only a changed heart would allow him a way out. How do you approach God in your sins? David has shown us what satisfies God.
Copyright © 2005, Nolan P. Rutter