Gordon VanWylen

READ : Psalm 51:1-6

This psalm comes from the darkest hour of a great man of God. It follows David’s adultery with Bathsheba and his arranging for the death of her husband in battle. Between these events and David’s penning this psalm was his painful, transforming encounter with God through the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 11 and 12). This psalm has great lessons for us regardless of the magnitude of our sins. It deals not only with sin, but also with the great salvation themes of renewal and praise.

The basis for David’s plea for mercy, and all that follows in this psalm, is God’s unfailing love and great mercy, a truth definitively confirmed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Though this was an outrageous sin, David expands his confession to include all his transgressions and iniquities. He asks for God’s decisive forgiveness with vivid words: “blot out, wash away, cleanse me.”

One feels David’s pain as he cries out, “My sin is always before me,” and realizes that ultimately his sin was against God and God’s pattern for his life. He also acknowledges that sin touches him at every point of his life (v. 5), and that his only hope is to know God’s forgiveness and inner transformation (v. 6).


Lord, you know how hard it is for me to confess my sins. Help me to do so with sincerity and faith. Amen.