Psalm 51 contains the account of David’s confession of sin after his sin with Bathsheba. David had sinned with Bathsheba and had ordered the death of Bathsheba’s husband in order to hide his sin. David’s sin had so darkened his mind that he forgot the truth that your sin will always find you out. Nathan the prophet had come to David after his sin and confronted him regarding his sin. David’s heart became broken over his sin. It was in the midst of his brokenness that David found that the road to restoration was the road of repentance. David penned Psalm 51 in the midst of this heartfelt confession of sin.
The road to restoration for a sinning saint can be found in the experience of David in this psalm. First, David acknowledged his sin. He described his actions as ‘iniquity’, ‘transgressions’, ‘sin’, ‘evil’. David did not try to justify his sin or redefine his sin. David did not blame others involved in his sin. David owned his sin as sin. And the road to restoration must begin with a personal acknowledgement of one’s sin. Many people excuse their sin or justify their sin or blame others for their sin. When their true need is to acknowledge their sin.
Second, David realized that his sin was ultimately against God. David said, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight…” David’s sin did harm others. He had truly sinned against Bathsheba and her husband but David was truly grieved because he violated God’s law. David’s heart was broken because He had ultimately offended His God. Every Christian should consider all that Christ has had to endure because of our sin. And it should grieve our hearts any time we sin against Him. Our sin may hurt other people but it is ultimately an offense against God.
Third, David realized that he needed divine forgiveness. Because of his sin, David called upon God for mercy. He said to God: “Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” David knew that only God could provide the forgiveness that he needed. The road to restoration must involve a realization that sin truly is the problem and that God is the only solution. Every sin must be forgiven by God. And praise God that Jesus is a merciful Savior who is ready to pardon our sin if we come in true contrition. As we see in verse 17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
Fourth, David praised God for his restoration. He exclaimed, “…my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.” God’s path to restoration always includes repentance. But true repentance always brings rejoicing.
The experience of David brings hope of restoration to the sinning saint. Praise God!