Summary: 2nd in a Lenten Series on Psalm 51
Psalm 51:2 2/18/18 (Create in Me a Clean Heart #2) Wash Away my Guilt
I can’t repeat my whole sermon from Wednesday, but in order for this series to be as effective as possible, I do have to make sure that everybody has some background to this amazing Psalm of David. David was a prolific Psalm writer. He wrote the beloved Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” In fact, he wrote one half of the 150 Psalms in the Bible. Many of them you can use today in absolutely honest and heartfelt prayers to God. And Psalm 51 is one of the biggest. So let me just remind you of the background of the author of this Psalm. He was like all of us, a mixture of good and bad.
Youngest of the eight sons of Jesse
Lion and Bear killer
Poet / Musician Hot tempered
Adulterer / Rapist?
Liar / Manipulator
King David was the guy who finally conquered the Philistines and extended their borders and ushered in the golden age of Israel. He was, in his prime, one of the bravest and best warriors who ever lived. We know what he did to Goliath. Before that he laid out a lion and a bear with a club when he was just a boy. He was a poet, a statesman, a musician, a natural born leader… David was the man… But he was also a man, a very flawed man, who betrayed the trust of one of his closest friends and best warriors, Uriah the Hittite. He committed adultery with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, then he tried to cover it up by bringing him home from the war for a conjugal visit with his wife. When that didn’t work, he had Uriah murdered “with the sword of the Ammonites.” He had Uriah put in the front lines and had everybody take a step back. And after that all that, David apparently didn’t even look back. He was going on his merry way until God sent the prophet Nathan to tell him a story about a rich guy stealing his poor neighbor’s beloved little lamb. And David couldn’t even see his sin wrapped up in that story until Nathan stuck his finger in David’s face and said, “You’re the man.” You’re that man, who would steal what belongs to your neighbor and try to get away with it. But you didn’t!
Folks, each of us has many forks in the road…
Slide: Fork in the road
…key moments in your life when you have to decide what kind of a person you’re going to be. Our men’s group is studying C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” and just looked at what I think is one of his greatest quotes:
Slide: “…every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before.” - C.S. Lewis
Isn’t that true? In the end, you are what you choose to do. And David had a choice to make in that moment of accusation by the prophet. He could have done what all of our politicians have done when they are put in a similar position: try to explain it all away. He could have denied it. He could have destroyed the prophet Nathan on the spot. He could have said, “But that’s not really me. That’s not who I am…” like many say today when they are caught in behavior they know is wrong. In many ways the fate of all Israel hung on what David decided to do in that moment. And in that moment in time we see the true greatness of David – And we see why he was called “A man after God’s own heart.” He simply said:
Slide: “Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’” (2 Samuel 12:12–13 NIV)
I am sorry, I have no excuse, please forgive me. And then David did the unthinkable. He made his sin very public in a Psalm meant to be used in worship by God’s people. The Psalm has the following introduction:
Slide: “For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.” (Psalms 51:0 NIV)
Again, who does that? Only somebody who knows he has absolutely no other choice then to throw himself on the mercy of Almighty God. And someone who was willing to let his darkest moment be a lesson for his people. And so he began his prayer with words that every one of us must be able to also pray to God:
Slide: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.” (Psalms 51:1 NIV)