Journey with Daniel

Journey with Daniel

“The Cry Of The One Who Is Contrite”

Categories: Seeing God Through the Psalms

The Cry Of The One Who Is Contrite

Psalm 51 is David’s cry for help as a result of his tremendous sin with Bathsheba. This is written after Nathan comes to him and confronts him concerning his sin with her.  It is a moving Psalm from a man who is described to be after God’s own heart. It reminds me of the cry from Romans 7:24, “O wretched man that I am. Who shall deliver me from this body of death?” 

What does David do following his sin?

He asks God for mercy (vs. 1). There was only one thing for him to do. He had no basis to stand before God. He can only cry for mercy.

He admitted his sin (vs. 2-4). At this point in his life, there was nothing to hide. There was no need to try and offer excuse. There was no need to blame others. He admits his guilt and accepts all that he has done is sin and evil.

He tells the truth (vs. 6). He had lied and gave consent to the murder of Uriah.  Lie upon lie left him so wretched. David was tired of lying to himself and to God. 

He had to clean up his act (vs. 7). He was unclean. His guilt was real and only God could cleanse that guilty conscience.

He sang the song of cleansing (vs. 12).  As long as David hid, his song was only about mourning and grief. He can only sing again when his is clean. Sin stops songs. Cleansing brings back the song in his heart.

He offered a broken and contrite spirit (vs. 16-17).  At this point, there was no need to offer more sacrifices. More sacrifices were not going to change his heart. He had to come broken. He needs not to just feel sorry but feel godly sorrow that would lead him to repent.

He stands as an example to others that we can learn from (vs. 13-15).  Sin hurts. Sin is destructive. Sin is self-inflicted. But it does not have to be the final word. Not only did he come broken, but now he wants to teach others to learn from what he did. He wants to tell others what he did and what God has done for him.

As horrendous the sin of David was, he was forgiven. There should be encouragement in that for us. When we sin, we need to have the heart of David to find joy again. There can be a fulfilling life after sin. 

I believe only the broken heart is big enough for God to dwell in.  David and Nehemiah model for us the importance of coming before God in our brokenness.  Because, you see, only when we’re broken will we face the truth about ourselves.  I’m sure that David felt twinges of guilt for months after his adultery with Bathsheba, and his murder of Uriah must have brought him a great deal of remorse.  But take note that there is a difference between feeling guilty and being broken.  I’m sure there have been times in our life where we’ve felt bad about some things we’ve done. I have. But that is so much different than being broken about my sins, of having a contrite (Middle English meaning- crush or to grind) heart.  I’m sure David had twinges of guilt, but he was not broken until he was confronted by the prophet Nathan’s rebuke.  And then, for the first time, he had to face the cancer that was deep in his soul.  Only when David was broken by the truth, did he face the fact that he had an impure heart.  You don’t face the truth about yourself until you’re broken.  

Action items:

  1. Sin that is ignored never gets better. It is better to repent and be restored.
  2. Sin and guilt will eat the heart out of our soul. A contrite heart turns to God.
  3. No matter the magnitude of the sin, God forgives. Seek His forgiveness and be whole.