Term 1 – Week 8

Big Idea – In His kindness, God forgives David and gives him a new heart.

Psalm 51




Psalm 51 begins with the heading: For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. David wrote this Psalm after he rejected the word of the Lord (2 Samuel 11) and was subsequently confronted with his sin through the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 12). It’s his personal confession and repentance of his sin to God. However, the Psalm is not primarily about David’s sin, but rather about God and his undeserved kindness shown towards David, despite his sin. In his kindness, God forgives (cleanses) David of his sin and gives him a new heart – a heart full of joy. It’s helpful to break this Psalm down into five parts:

David’s Plea (vv.1-2)

David cries out to God for mercy; to blot out, wash away and cleanse him of all his sin, according to God’s unfailing love and compassion. After rejecting God and his word, David now turns back to God in repentance and faith.

David’s Confession (vv.3-6)

In 2 Samuel 11, David tried to cover up his sin, but here in Psalm 51 David confesses it. First, he acknowledges his sin to God. He understands that he can’t get away from it because it’s like a stain that won’t wash out (v.3). Second, he confesses that his sin is against God alone. He understands that he did evil against God (v.4a). Third, he realises his guilt before God. He is filthy sinner before a holy God (v.4b).  Fourth, he recognises that he has a heart problem, one which he’s had since his conception. His heart is turned away from God, thus he is a sinner who is guilty before God. He realises that there is big gap between who he is in his heart, and who God is and what he desires (vv.5-6).  So, with this confession of sin, David’s only option is to cry out, ‘Have mercy on me, O God’ (v.1) and to ask God to give him a spiritual cleansing of the heart.

David’s Cleansing (vv.7-9)

David cries out for forgiveness and asks God to spiritually clean his heart. First he cries ‘cleanse me with hyssop and wash me’. Take me from death to life and give me purity before the holy God (v.7).  Second, give me the joy that comes from being forgiven (v.8). Third, wipe away my sin (v.9). We know that God kindly forgave David because of His unfailing love & compassion (v.1, cf. 2 Sam 12:13b).

David’s Restoration (vv. 10-12)

Confident then of his forgiveness, David now looks forward to his salvation. He asks God to give him a new heart (v.10), to restore his relationship with God (v.11a) and to help him persevere in his salvation for which he needs to the Holy Spirit’s help (v.11b). He asks God to restore in him the joy of salvation and give him a willing spirit, which is a deep delight and joy in the Lord, because it is this joy that will help him persevere in his salvation and motivate him to obedience. And in His kindness, God gives him a new heart, because of his unfailing love and compassion (v.1).

David’s Worship (vv.13-19)

Now that David is restored back to God with a new heart, his eyes are lifted away from his sin to the praise and worship of the Lord. He vows to instruct others (v.13), to sing of His righteousness (v.14), to praise His name (v.15), to demonstrate what true sacrifice is, that is a transformed heart (vv.16-17) and to lift his eyes to Zion (vv.18-19). God showed David undeserved kindness by taking away his sin and giving him a new heart, but it was only a foreshadow of what was to come in Jesus. In his kindness, God sent Jesus into the world, to die on the cross to justify the guilty through faith in him (Rom 3:23-25), to be the once for all sacrifice for sin (Heb 9:12, 14) and to bring restoration and cleansing to bring us to God (Heb 10:22). In light of our sin, if we take up the posture of David and confess our sin against God and humble ourselves before him, then we too might be forgiven and cleansed and give a new heart, a heart full of joy.

Memory Verse

1 Samuel 16:7b

The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 


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Dundonald Kids

Dundonald Kids is the team led by our Children's Minister Natasha Small that aims to partner with parents in growing young disciples of Christ.

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