Thoughts on Psalm 51…

I’m preparing a sermon to be preached this Sunday on Psalm 51.  As I’ve been studying it, one thing keeps sticking out to me.  In verse 5, David says:

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,

and in sin did my mother conceive me.

I’ve thought about this passage for a while, but just recently it dawned on me (or rather, I heard someone really smart…Sinclair Ferguson…put it this way) that David isn’t just saying he was born as a sinner.  While that is part of his point, he’s saying something far more intense than that.  David is saying that his sin, his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband Uriah, is part of his character.

Think about that.

David’s sin was not “a good man doing a bad thing” – it was not an aberration of character from a good man, it was a revelation of the twisted heart he truly has.

In his sin, David saw what he was truly capable of.  Adultery.  Murder.  Not to mention the callous heart he had towards all of it.  Not to mention the far reaching attempts he made to cover it up.

And this is David.  This is the greatest king of Israel, and perhaps the greatest hero (mentioned by name) in the Old Testament.

The question I’ve been wrestling with is this – if David is capable of such a thing, what am I capable of?  The weight of that question is crushing.  The realization that my sin is not an aberration of my character but instead my natural tendency is crushing.

But here’s the thing – God was merciful to David.  God showed David, the king, mercy, because one day, a thousand years (or however long it was) later, he would not show another King mercy, though that King had done nothing wrong.

And because of that, God can be (and is) merciful to me every day.

Hallelujah.

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One thought on “Thoughts on Psalm 51…

  1. goteefreak says:

    Great thoughts. What really hits me is the fact that David is “a man after God’s own heart” yet look at what he was capable of. With that in mind I think about what I might be capable of. It’s convicting and scary.

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