1365.) Psalm 51

Psalm 51 (New International Version)

This week is a collection of some of my favorite Bible passages.

For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

Detail of “David’s Punishment” by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld (German artist, 1794-1872), woodcut illustration

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Music:

“Miserere,” by Italian composer Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652), is a setting of Psalm 51 composed during the reign of Pope Urban VIII, probably during the 1630s, for use in the Sistine Chapel as part of the Tenebrae service on Wednesday and Friday of Holy Week.  HERE  it is, sung by The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge.  This piece always brings tears to my eyes.

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How to confess our sins? 
David shows us in this prayer.  He prays a prayer of–

1) confession.  No downplaying; David freely admits his sin.  God is not interested in our excuses, but He is always willing to hear us say we are sorry for our sins.

2) contrition.  David can’t stop thinking about his sin, or get away from it.  Sin should bother us.

3) cleansing.  Sin is a stain, an unseen poison.  He needs the burden lifted.  The only cure is the blood of Jesus.

4) consecration.  David wants the joy of salvation again.  To be consecrated is to be set apart for God’s work, and David is eager to tell others what God has done for him.

–from Steve Patton

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.

5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts;
you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

whiter than snow

8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.

14 Save me from bloodguilt, O God,
the God who saves me,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.

16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

Wait — but God had instructed the Israelites to bring him sacrifices and burnt offerings!  So if that type of offering no longer works, then what?  What can we bring to God as a sacrifice, which the Lord will deem acceptable and excellent?  What does God want from us?

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.

God asks that I bring him a broken heart, broken by my sorrowful awareness of my own sins and the sins of the world.

18 In your good pleasure make Zion prosper;
build up the walls of Jerusalem.

19 Then there will be righteous sacrifices,
whole burnt offerings to delight you;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

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Music:

“Have mercy on me, O God . . .”  David begins his confession.  In doing so, he teaches us how to confess our own sins to the Lord.  And the Lord has promised that our repentance will be met by his mercy.  HERE  is “Thy Mercy”  sung by Sandra McCracken.

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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Have mercy tulips.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/havemercyonmeogodaccordingtoyoursteadfastlove.jpg
Carolsfeld.    http://www.jesuswalk.com/greatprayers/images/carolsfeld_davids_punishment420x376.gif
whiter than snow.    http://crystallewis.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/img_0446.jpg
Create in me a clean heart.    http://bibledaily.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/psalm51c.jpg
Restore to me the joy and rainbow.    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/psalm51_12ljm.jpg
Man with a broken heart.    http://restoringwholeness.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/young-man-kneeling.jpg
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