Psalms 51 and 32 Show the Power of Confession
David was a man who knew the power of confession.
Once his sin was pointed out, he quickly repented and asked God for forgiveness.
He confessed that his sin was against God. Why? Wasn’t it against his wife, Uriah and others? Yes and Yes. Because God had given the rules of conduct for our lives. Lying, stealing, coveting, lusting, and murder do not demonstrate love to God, love to others or love to self. Also, for David, they were part of the 10 Commandments which he was to keep.
He pleaded with God. Because he knew, only God could grant him the forgiveness and cleanliness of heart he needed. The power of confession is the cleansing that God provides.
Psalm 51 is the result of his repentance.
I used to sing this psalm as a hymn, at my last church.
This Psalm comes to my mind when I sin against God and need His cleansing. At these times, I truly experience the power of confession.
Today, I would like to go through this beautiful Psalm with you. We will also look at Psalm 32. Because it captures the joy of Psalm 51 being fulfilled.
Let’s read it slowly to see the depth of his repentance.
- David’s plea (verses 1-12),
- David’s promise (verses 13-17)
- David’s prayer (verses 18 and 19).
David Makes His Plea (verses 1-12)
. Verse 1 – “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.”
. Verse 2 – “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”
. God I need you to extend Your loving kindness and mercy to me – It’s because of you that I can be forgiven. All the good I have done in the past does not take away the penalty for this action. Thank you for Your compassion which can blot out all of my iniquities.
. Verse 3 – For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
. Verse 4 – Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
. David’s confession. He has sinned against God. By breaking His law. He sinned against himself and others when he carried out the sins.
His Acknowledgement of God’s Desire
. Verse 5 – Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
(Romans 3:23 – “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”)
. Verse 6 – Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
. He acknowledges that God’s desire is for us to have a relationship with Him based on truth, faithfulness and wisdom. All things that we can ask God for. God was faithful to David. He did not leave him in his sin. He came to his rescue and David accepted. He will do the same for us.
His Prayer For Forgiveness and Restoration
- V7 – Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
- V8 – Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
- V9 – Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
- V10 – Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
- V11 – Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
- V12 – Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Now David Makes a couple Promises to God:
To Teach Others
- V13 – Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.
- V14b – O God, my Savior, my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
- V15 – Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.
He Offers Up Praise
V16a – You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
V17 – My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
David Says a Prayer:
Verse 18 – May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
Verse 19 – Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
The Joy of Knowing God Hears and Answers
In this Psalm we see that David was thankful for his forgiveness, he remembers what it was like when he was hiding the sin and shows that he kept his promise of proclaiming God’s ways.
The Joy of Forgiveness (Verses 1-2)
Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
The Damage of Keeping Silent (covering up) (Verses 3-4)
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
The Benefit of Confession (Verses 5-7)
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. 6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. 7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
The Value of Trust (Verses 8-11)
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. 9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. 10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. 11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!
These two Psalms demonstrate the power of confession, praise and worship. Confession is part of our warfare to keep a right relationship with God. Remember, we are to be the righteousness of God in Christ.
I know that I feel closer to God when I sing Psalm 51 as part of my repentance. Then I am able to offer up praise that comes from a pure heart. Psalm 32 is a great example of praise. Let’s praise Him for being so faithful, loving, kind, and merciful in delivering us, forgiving us and cleansing us.
God has given us, 1 John 1:9 to apply to our lives. Then like King David, we can say the above Psalms with a pure heart. And mean them.
May the Lord continue to lead us to repentance and develop in each one of us a pure heart that is totally dedicated to Him.
Let’s take full advantage of the power of confession!
What are your favorite things to sing or repeat when praising God?