This is a cool Psalm for those who deal with guilt and personal imperfection. It was written during a time of huge failure and testing for King David. In fact, He could have easily train-wrecked, had he not found the solution represented in this Psalm. He has been confronted about his sin with Bathsheba and had faced down by one of God’s prophets (2 Samuel 12).
Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always in front of my face. Against You and You alone I have sinned. I have done what is evil in Your sight, so You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge (my actions). What is happening in David’s heart as this process unfolds?
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. For You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean. Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me able to hear joy and gladness, and let the bones which You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities.
What is David saying about his nature? About his hope?
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will come to know You. What had David robbed himself of? What were his fears? What was he asking to get back from God?
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation, for then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise. For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it. For You are not pleased with mere burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; and a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. By Your favor do good to Zion and build the walls of Jerusalem. Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices, in burnt offering and whole burnt offering; then young bulls will be offered on Your altar.
What is bloodguiltiness? What immediate price had David paid?
David paid a huge price for his sin, but God is gracious to uphold his heart and deliver him from being overtaken by his choices. You can read the complete story in 2 Samuel 11-12. What does Psalm 51 bring to you within your story?