Psalms Series Week 3: Psalm 51

by Holly Addington

I have a couple of confessions, first the Psalms aren’t my favorite book.  They’re not my “go to” when I feel down or anxious. Oftentimes, they don’t resonate with me.Also, when I read the Lord of the Rings books, I skip the poems.  Is that related?  I’m not sure… 

But, when Susan asked if I would like to share my thoughts on Psalm 51, I wanted to because THIS is a Psalm I have really prayed over my life, “Restore to me the JOY of my salvation.”  I long for that joy!!

I love how David spends much of the psalm talking about his sin, because it encourages me to be willing to take deep looks at my own heart.  After all, this was right after the prophet Nathan has confronted him about his sin with Bathsheba.  There is really nowhere for him to hide, and he confesses readily the depth of his iniquities.  At the same time, he lists these amazing truths about God’s character. He knows that God has abundant mercy, steadfast love,  can wash us and cleanse us, teach us wisdom, purge us of our sin, give us joy and gladness, create new hearts within us, renew right spirits, restore us, uphold us, deliver us, and give us words to praise Him!  

So my take-away is this:  I can’t have the joy of a renewed heart without first seeing my sin. I won’t see how abundant God’s mercy is if I don’t ask God to show me my sin (gently, please Lord), and I need God to show it to me!   The reason I can, like David, look my sin in the face and not be crushed by it is that I quickly look to my savior and know the depth of my forgiveness.  He knew I would be impatient about the empty glass left on the coffee table when he died on the cross, and it is finished. Hallelujah!

I’ll close with some words that sum it up beautifully from Tim Keller.

“Now, when I’m reminded of my sin, it’s a sweet wound. Because it reminds me of how much God loves me and just how effective Christ’s sacrifice was. Actually, the deeper I see my sin, the more I’m pressed—reminded, driven—to take grasp of the reality of God’s grace… The more I know I’m saved, the more I have the emotional fortitude to confess my sin.”

Tim Keller

A sweet wound.  I love that.

May the Lord bless us and keep us as we study the Psalms together!!

– Holly