Summary: Psa. 50 took us into the big courtroom of God, Ps. 51 reveals a heart in God's courtroom, one who feels God's scrutiny and his own sinfulness


Text: Ps. 51


1. We’ve seen the judgment motif in several of the Psalms

Ps. 73—from afar, considering it making sense of things

Ps. 50---more up close—God judging his people of the covenant

2. Now in Ps. 51, traditionally the psalm of David after Nathan’s confrontation about David’s sin

3. This Psalm reflects a heart under God’s judgment


A. I have sinned 1b-4

1. David knows what he has done, it is against Bathsheba, but

first and foremost it is against God v. 4

2. It haunts him, burdens his conscience 3b

3. There is the realization that he is capable of bad things, wrong

things, even though he is king; he is not the final say

C. Confession of wrong keeps a person humble, keeps him aware of

his humanity, his need for God,

1. knowing you stand under God’s judgment you have nothing to

hide, you can hide nothing, the best thing is to confront it and

deal with it, lest it fester, and poison other parts of your life.

D. A heart under God’s judgment is a heart with a conscience

trained by God, trained by the law of justice, righteousness,

E. “I know what you want” v. 6

1. truth in the inner parts---admission of wrong, not denial, not

rationalization, not justifying, not making excuses

2. you teach me wisdom, skill in living, in the inmost place; you

teach me what it takes to walk with you in life

3. God works where we can’t see, down deep, in our soul

4.But, where he works is to be manifest in living.

5. v. 5. Is a metaphor, a hyperbole expressing the depths of

David’s feeling---I’ve never been clean


A. David lists a series of desires:

1. cleanse me with hyssop v. 7

2. wash me and I will be whiter than snow

3. let me hear joy and gladness---right now I hear sounds of

mourning, or death, of despair. V. 8

4. hide your face from my sins---turn away from my wickedness,

from the deformity of sin in me v. 9

5. blot out all my iniquity

6. Create in me a pure heart v. 10

7. Renew a steadfast(resistant) spirit within me

8. Do not cast me from your presence v. 11

9. do not take you Holy Spirit from me

10. Restore to me the joy of your salvation v. 12

11. grant me a willing spirit to sustain me

B. God, give me a total makeover, head to toe, inside and out,

remove every impurity, I want to be able to stand in your

presence, I know you have no relationship with sin.


A. Then---after cleansing & restoring---I will teach transgressors

your ways.

1. there is hope, there is forgiveness

2. there is newness, something to look forward to

3. guilt can be dealt with

B. then---my tongue will sing of your righteousness, my mouth will

declare your praise

C. A change is readily seen in a heart that is right with God


A. I know what you want---not sacrifices and burnt offerings---- but

a heart attuned to your heart,

1. a broken spirit

2. a broken and contrite heart

3. a heart that recognizes the Greatness and purity of God, that

humbly stands in his presence and looks to Him for what is

needed to make everything right—as it should be.

4. I want to give you what you desire from me


A. David’s depth of emotion due to sin---it doesn’t seem to sound

like he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar,

1. his sin was serious—as we might rate it---adultery and murder

cover up

2. at the core is selfishness, thinking of himself as privileged, as

entitled to have his way since he was king.

3. Anytime we sin, it is due to this same thought process---

B. David’s perspective of the presence of God

1. “don’t cast me away, don’t take your Spirit from me”

2. He knew the seriousness of the effects of sin---it separates,

God can have no part

3. But the idea of God’s presence is something we rarely consider

when talking of sin

C. The power of faith---He believed His God, the God he knew and

worshiped, would indeed forgive Him and restore that


1. the happy heart returns when forgiveness happens.

2. When did David know he had been forgiven?

3. He was punished, the child conceived died. How and when did

he know God forgave him?


1. this is/should be our heart—honest as we stand in God’s presence, desiring to stay in that presence

2. the only thing preventing is the condition of our heart—proud and entitled or humble and confessing.

3. God desires the latter, rewards the latter and has a relationship with the humble heart.

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