What David Said: Make Me Clean!

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.” (Psalm 51:1-3)

As far as we know, David wrote these words after he had verbally confessed his sin against God. The prophet Nathan — a man God used to speak His words on earth — gave David an immediate response: “The LORD has taken away your sin.”

whatdavid_350But David still felt guilty and dirty and stained with all of his ugly choices. Even after hearing God’s announced punishments (the death of the baby and violence/conflict/betrayl for and from his other kids), David can’t get past the burden of his sin. It’s hard to blame him.

Most of us can relate to the memory of a sin that is always before us. Maybe you have begged God to clean you up over and over already knowing in your head that He has promised to forgive you. Let’s remind ourselves again of God’s great mercy and His unfailing love for us in Christ Jesus.

Think: Why do you think it is sometimes difficult to let go of the burden of sin even after we have done our best to make it right with God and with those we have wronged? Is it a bad thing that the guilty feelings linger? Is there a difference between godly sorrow and worthless regret?

Pray: Thank God again that Jesus paid for all of your sin when He died on the cross. Thank Him for His mercy. Ask Him to help you not to forget His grace and also to remember that you are forgiven in Jesus.

Do: Read and think about 2 Corinthians 7:10.

What David Said: Paper Confessions

“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.

“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” (Psalm 51:4-6)

On some cop shows, perps are dragged into a holding cell and grilled by the detectives until they’re ready to spill. (Maybe I’ve watched too many cop shows.) The goal is often to get the bad guy to write out a confession to the crime on paper.

whatdavid_350That’s not a bad idea for you and me, either. David did that here. First, he confessed to his sin verbally with Nathan. Later, he wrote out his confession. Especially when we struggle to believe that we are truly forgiven and loved by God, writing down our prayer of confession to Him can help us have something to hold on to as evidence of the conversation we’ve had with Him.

Notice what David included: 1) He admits that he sinned against God. 2) He throws himself on the mercy of God’s court, understanding He deserves any judgement God chooses. (We know Jesus has already paid our punishment, but we will often suffer the real-world consequences of our wrong choices.) 3) David admits he’s a criminal from the womb; this isn’t a one-time offense. 4) He says he knows he can change only with God’s help by honestly learning in his heart the wisdom God teaches.

Think: Have you ever confessed your sin to God as David did here? Do you see any value in writing out prayers to God, especially prayers of confession?

Pray: Ask God to help you to be honest with Him and with yourself in your heart and to learn the wisdom He teaches in your inmost place.

Do: If you want to, try writing out a prayer to God. If you have unconfessed sin to deal with, follow David’s pattern of written confession. Otherwise, just write what you would normally talk to Him about.

What David Said: Bigger Than Your Sin

“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.” (Psalm 51:7-9)

When you’ve done your worst. When you’ve been caught red-handed. When everyone seems to know just by looking at you how ugly your soul can be. When you’re drowning in the consequences of your own foolish, selfish choices.

whatdavid_350In that moment, you might feel beyond fixing. Some people vow in that moment to abandon God forever. He could not love them again. He could not forgive that. They are broken. Ruined. Too far gone to ever come back.

David, though, realized that was a lie. His God was bigger than his sin. Your God is bigger than your sin, even if your sin is huge. David believed and so he asked: “Clean me. Make it possible for me to be happy again. Take all my ugly sins and delete them completely from your hard drive.” God can do that.

Think: Have you ever felt it wasn’t even worth the effort to get right with God because your sin was so major? Do you see how that treats God as if He is smaller than your capacity to do wrong?

Pray: Ask God to help you to believe that His forgiveness and grace is greater than your sin. As one forgiven by the blood of Jesus, ask God to help you to hear joy and gladness today.

Do: Make a quick list of the sins that God cannot or will not forgive because they’re just too evil.