Summary: David’s Pattern of Forgiveness: Realize our error; Repent of our actions; Request forgiveness and restoration of favor; Rejoice and give thanks.
Psalm 51: Prayer for Pardon
Text: Psalm 51:1-19
Some of you may have recently received by way of email a picture from Marie Adams. It seems they have experienced the first dusting of snow at their new home in Arkansas. Now growing up in Tucson I only saw snow in the city maybe once every seven years, and it rarely lasted more than a day. And of course in the almost thirty years I’ve lived in San Diego I’ve not experienced local snowfall. But I have been in snow and one of my favorite photos is of a snow covered field with a winter barren tree in the background and a split-rail fence crossing the field. Printed on the picture are the words “Be still and know that I AM.” I can look at that picture and feel the calm and purity of the snow covered field. And that is something we associate with freshly fallen snow, purity.
There is just one problem with that concept. While the crystal formations of snowflakes are beautiful, they have many different shapes and sizes; all are different but have one common thread: dirty hearts. Snow crystals form around tiny bits of dirt that have been carried up into the atmosphere by the wind.
This means we are a bit like snowflakes because we also have dirty hearts. We stand at the peak of God’s creation; all are different but have a common thread - sin (Romans 5:12 (NASB) Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned). Everyone is marked by sin, we all face the consequences of sinful actions, the dirty heart is the one thing we all have in common, and original sin follows and flows through every life.
But just as we have a common source of being cursed; we also have a common source for forgiveness and blessing.
This psalm was written by a man after God’s own heart who "blew it" in a big way. He committed sins that you simply wouldn’t expect a good man to commit. And it wasn’t one of those cases where he accidentally committed a sin before he realized what was going on. No, he put a great deal of thought and effort into committing his sin, and then he went to even greater trouble to cover his sin. His actions were despicable and the outcome tragic. However, the most amazing fact about this story is that this didn’t ruin the man. He was able to recover from his mistakes and get back on his feet.
1. The "Prayer of a Penitent Sinner Psalm."
2. It tells how to get back on the right track with God. Getting back on track requires a:
II.Change of Heart v. 3-4
A. In Psalm 51:1-2, David begs forgiveness.
B. David was guilty and he knew it. He couldn’t deny his wrongdoing any longer. He could only confess to God and ask forgiveness.
1. This occurred following his confrontation with the prophet Nathan (Read 2 Samuel 12:1-12)
a. There is a lesson in Nathan’s approach for us to consider (Galatians 6:1a (NASB) Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness)
2. Before Nathan, David lived as if he had done no wrong.
a. Proverbs 30:12 (NASB) There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes, Yet is not washed from his filthiness.
b. Parable of the Pharisee and Publican (Luke 18:9-14)
c. 1 John 1:8 (NASB) If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
C. We’re often just that way about our own sin. We try to justify it and pretend that it’s not so bad. We try to explain why it isn’t really sin.
1. We see this repeated in the headlines today with celebrities and star athletes.
2. As long as we keep this defiant attitude we can never get completely right with God. Getting right with God requires a change of heart.
D. The tough question, "Are you sorry you did it, or are you just sorry you got caught?" A change of heart means that we’re sorry we did it, regardless of who knows or doesn’t know about our sin
III.Change of Mind v. 4
A. We need to acknowledge and accept the rule of God in our lives. God had declared the actions of David as sin, unacceptable to a Holy God.
1. What was right was not what David felt was right. What was right was not what David as king said was right.
2. What was right was not what “everyone else” was doing or saying but what God said.