Psalm 51 – The Sinner’s Psalm DAY 31

Scripture Reading: “Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.” (Psalm 51:19)

Not only does penitence produce the possibility of revival in the church and the acceptability of our sacrifices of praise, but it also results in God’s glory. Nothing is more glorifying to God than a people pardoned by His grace, transformed by His power, worshipping in His Spirit, and praising His name. It is, as David proclaims in Psalm 22:3, the praise of His people that God inhabits.

The Apostle Paul admonishes us to do everything we do to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). This should be the chief end of every Christian’s life. Like the Apostle Paul, our daily prayer should be that Christ will be magnified by us in the greatest way possible, whether it is by our life or by our death (Philippians 1:20).

Truly, only those enthralled by Christ can be so self-forgetting. And only those whose feet have been lifted out of the miry clay of ever-sinking sin and set upon the solid rock of eternal salvation will loose all sight of themselves in the blinding light of our glorious Savior.

We leave this magnificent psalm with David no longer morning over his sin, but mesmerized with his Savior. His guilt expunged, his sin forgiven, and his salvation assured. He is off his knees and no longer pleading; his hands are uplifted and he is now praising. No longer is his guilt ever before him and gloom all around him; instead, he now sees nothing but the glory of the Lord.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.” (Helen H. Lemmel)

Psalm 51 – The Sinner’s Psalm DAY 30

Scripture Reading: “Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.” (Psalm 51:19)

Notice, in his sin, David had no hope of offering God a desired sacrifice (v. 16). The only thing he could give that God would gladly receive was his heart (v. 17). And when it came to his heart, it too would have been unacceptable to God unless it had been prepared for God’s altar by being broken by God’s Spirit.

Once David had been broken and made right with God, he could offer to God the pleasing sacrifices of righteousness. Salted with the Spirit and lovingly offered in worship of the merciful God by whom he had been forgiven, David’s sacrifices would then be a sweet smelling aroma in the nostrils of the Almighty.

According to the Apostle Peter, all of us today, who like David of old, have been broken by God’s Spirit and entered into a right relationship with God, are “living stones” that are being “built into a spiritual house” so that we, as “an holy priesthood,” can “offer up spiritual sacrifices,” which are “acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). Through Christ our Spirit-salted and lovingly offered sacrifices of worship are made pleasing to God. May we therefore never cease to offer up to our merciful God the pleasing sacrifice of our praise.

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (Hebrews 13:15)

Psalm 51 – The Sinner’s Psalm DAY 29

Scripture Reading: “Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.” (Psalm 51:18)

Some commentators suggest that the concluding two verses of this magnificent psalm were added later as an appendix. These commentators do so because of their erroneous perception that the concluding verses are a departure from the psalm’s previous subject. Far from departing from the subject of the psalm’s previous verses, the psalm’s concluding verses actually speak of the natural consequences of spiritual contriteness. 

When individual believers get right with God there is always hope of believers getting right with God corporately. One thing for sure, until we individually get right with God, there is no hope of revival in the church. God can take no pleasure in Zion or build the walls of Jerusalem until the inhabitants thereof are in a right relationship with Him. God could certainly not do so, as David definitely knew, if the king was not right with God.

As in the case of Achan, God’s people cannot count on His presence with them, His blessings on them, or His deliverance of them as long as there is sin in the camp (Joshua 7:1-26). Are you a modern-day “Achan,” someone keeping your church from victory because of accursed things hid away in your life. If you really want to see revival in your church, then, you must get right with God. There is no hope of revival corporately until we’re right with God individually.

If every church member was just like me, what kind of church would my church be?

Psalm 51 – The Sinner’s Psalm DAY 28

Scripture Reading: “…a broken…heart” (Psalm 51:17)

There is no better summary of the ministry of the Messiah in all of Scripture than that written by the Prophet Isaiah and read by our Lord in the synagogue of Nazareth (Luke 4:18-19). According to this divinely inspired synopsis of our Savior’s ministry, He came into the world to:

  1. “Preach the gospel to the poor.” He came to pay the sin debt of poor sinners. Since we are spiritually bankrupt, Christ came to pay our sin debt for us so that we can be forgiven of our sins.
  2. “Preach deliverance to the captives.” He came to deliver spiritual captives from their enslavement to sin and from their bondage to the prince of the power of the air.
  3. “Recovering of sight to the blind.” He came to open the eyes of those spiritually blinded by the god of this world so that they can see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ.
  4. “To set at liberty them that are bruised.” He came to free the emotionally bruised from the scars of their offenses so that they can be emotionally healthy and have healthy relationships with others.
  5. “To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” He not only came to pay our debt and to free us from our bondage, but also to restore to us everything our original parents lost in the Fall. All of this was foreshadowed for us in the Old Testament’s Year of Jubilee, when debts were cancelled, slaves were freed, an everyone’s inheritance was restored to them.

The only other thing enumerated in this passage as a part of the ministry of the Messiah was His coming into the world “to heal the brokenhearted.” It is those brokenhearted over their sin against God that the Great Physician has come into this world to heal. It is to these broken hearts alone that the balm of Gilead is applied (Jeremiah 8:22).

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit…He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 34:8; 147:3)

Psalm 51 – The Sinner’s Psalm DAY 27

Scripture Reading: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)

The only sacrifices God accepts from sinners are broken hearts and penitent spirits. God does not despise, but greatly delights in a sinner heartbroken over his sins and determined to wholeheartedly turn from sin to Him. According to Christ, the repentance of a sinner is Heaven’s greatest joy (Luke 15:7, 10).

The Apostle Paul taught that true repentance only comes from a godly sorrow induced in the hearts of sinners by the Holy Spirit of God (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). Many have a worldly sorrow over their sin. They are heartbroken over sin’s consequences; that is, over what sin cost them. Such sorrow, according to the Apostle Paul, results in death. It leaves the sinner unforgiven and under divine condemnation.

On the other hand, godly sorrow results in true repentance, divine pardon, and great rejoicing in the presence of the angels. Those heartbroken under the Spirit’s conviction of sin develop a detestation of sin that serves as a sure sign of their salvation from sin. Theirs is not a sorrow over what their sin cost them, but over what their sin cost God; namely, His Son and His Son’s life. Make no mistake about it; salvation is to be had at no other place than this. It is only found at the foot of the cross, where heartbroken sinners bow in godly sorrow and true repentance.

“What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring Him a Lamb.

If I were a wise man, I’d sure do my part.

So what can I give Him? I’ll give Him my heart.

 

What can you offer, that’s fit for a King?

Bow before Jesus, that’s where you can start.

What can you give Him? Just Give Him your heart.”  (Christina Rossetti)

Psalm 51 – The Sinner’s Psalm DAY 26

Scripture Reading: “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.” (Psalm 51:16)

In the Old Testament, certain sacrifices were prescribed for certain sins. The graver sins requiring the more costly sacrifices and the lesser sins requiring the less expensive sacrifices. However, when it came to David’s sins—adultery and murder—there were no atoning sacrifices to be made. Instead, the perpetrator of these sins was to be put to death, being under divine condemnation for having committed such egregious crimes against God.

David knew that there was nothing he could do or offer to God to secure for himself a divine pardon for his capital offenses. God neither desired nor took delight in any sacrifice offered to Him by a sinner like David. How hopeless and helpless the defenseless David stood before the heavenly bar.

It is the dire and desperate straits of the sinner’s lost condition that drives him, as it did David, to plead for mercy before the heavenly bar. Only those assured of their inability to do anything or to offer God anything that He desires or delights in will ever understand their desperate need of a divine pardon. Under the justifiable sentence of death for our egregious sins against God (Romans 6:23), we, like David, stand before the heavenly bar completely incapable of doing or offering to God anything that will merit His absolution or acceptance.

“Not the labor of my hands

Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;

Could my zeal no respite know,

Could my tears forever flow,

All for sin could not atone;

Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,

Simply to the cross I cling;

Naked, come to Thee for dress;

Helpless look to Thee for grace;

Foul, I to the fountain fly;

Wash me, Savior, or I die.” (Augustus M. Toplady)

Psalm 51 – The Sinner’s Psalm DAY 25

Scripture Reading: “Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee…and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.” (Psalm 51:13-15)

Those who have been pardoned by Christ will be witnesses for Him and worshippers of Him. They will not be able to contain themselves. Like the apostles of old, they too will declare to any seeking to silence their witness, “We cannot help but speak” (Acts 4:20). Their worship will prove to be as irrepressible as their witness. No stones will ever need to cry out in their place (Luke 19:37-40), for no religious Pharisees will ever be able to suppress their praise and worship.

There is no surer sign of a false profession than a confessed Christian who neither witnesses nor worships. How can one who has personally experienced the saving power of Jesus Christ be mum about it and humdrum in his appreciation of it? Truly, such a proposition is positively preposterous. A Christian who never darkens a church door nor utters a word about Christ is simply nonexistent. There is no such thing!

Do you remember what Jesus said about the woman who washed His feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair? He said, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much”; then, He added, “but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” (Luke 7:47). If we have ceased to witness and worship much it is because we have forgotten how much we have been forgiven.

Have you ever noticed how Matthew always refers to himself in his Gospel as “the publican.” It is as though he wanted to ever remind himself of how much he had been forgiven. Likewise, God taught Israel to always remember that they were not the greatest of people, but the least of all people when He chose them as His own (Deuteronomy 7:7). It will do wonders for both our witness and worship to be constantly reminding ourselves of what a frail brand we were when Christ plucked us out of the fire (Zechariah 3:2).

“Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.” (John Newton)

Psalm 51 – The Sinner’s Psalm DAY 23

Scripture Reading: “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation…” (Psalm 51:14)

Many a sinner will find some solace in the fact that they, unlike David, are innocent of “bloodguiltiness.” Their sins may be profuse and profane, but at least they have never committed murder and shed innocent blood.

Although it may come as quite a surprise, the Scripture teaches that no sinner is innocent of “bloodguiltiness.” In fact, like Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth, the hands of all humanity are stained with innocent blood. All of us had a hand in the most despicable deed of all time, for we are all equally guilty of shedding the innocent blood of Jesus Christ upon the cross of Calvary.

It was not the treachery of Judas, the condemnation of the Sanhedrin, Pilate’s order of execution, nor the Roman soldiers that nailed Jesus to the tree. Instead, it was your sin and mine, as well as “the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). We are responsible for the death of the Son of God. It was our sins and our sins alone that nailed Him to the cross. Much to our chagrin, our faces are to be found among the bloodthirsty throng and our voices heard among the clamoring crowd that cried, “His blood be upon us and on our children” (Matthew 27:25).

Irony of ironies is found in the fact that our most notorious crime serves as the very means by which God has provided our salvation. By willingly offering Himself as the victim of our sins, Christ has provided us victory over our sins. His condemnation is the means of our justification and His death at our hands has brought into our fallen world the gift of God, which is eternal life.

 

“When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,

Save in the death of Christ my God!

All the vain things that charm me most,

I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,

Sorrow and love flow mingled down!

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,

Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were a present far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.” (Isaac Watts)

Psalm 51 – The Sinner’s Psalm DAY 22

Scripture Reading: “Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” (Psalm 51:13)

The old adage is ever true—You can’t preach, at least not effectively, what you don’t practice. Repentance cannot be preached effectively by the unrepentant. There was no way the penitent David could preach penitence and pardon to others until he himself had been pardoned.

Years ago, I befriended a man in a small town where I pastored. He was not a Christian. Although I repeatedly share the Gospel with him, he remained resolute in his refusal to surrender his life to Christ. He came to church regularly, but never walked the aisle nor came to the altar. When he discovered the difficulty our church was having getting volunteers for our outreach program, he volunteered to help. Afterward, I had to explain to him that until he came to Christ, he would never be a help to our outreach program, but only a hindrance. After all, I explained, how could he, who refused to come to Christ, effectively persuade others to do what he refused to do himself?

David understood that until he was right with God, he had no hope of effectively teaching others to get right with God. In fact, until he was right with God, he would only be an impediment to others getting right with God rather than an inducement for them to get right with God. How about you, are you hindering or helping others to come to Christ?

“While passing through this world of sin,

And others your life shall view,

Be clean and pure without, within,

Let others see Jesus in you.

Your life’s a book before their eyes,

They’re reading it through and through,

Say, does it point them to the skies,

Do others see Jesus in you?

What joy ’twill be at set of sun,

In mansions beyond the blue,

To find some souls that you have won;

Let others see Jesus in you.

Then live for Christ both day and night,

Be faithful, be brave, and true,

And lead the lost to life and light;

Let others see Jesus in you.

Let others see Jesus in you,

Let others see Jesus in you;

Keep telling the story, be faithful and true,

Let others see Jesus in you.” (B. B. McKinney)

Psalm 51 – The Sinner’s Psalm DAY 21

Scripture Reading: “…and uphold me with thy free spirit.” (Psalm 51:12)

David is actually praying here for God to give him a spirit that will henceforth be willing to obey. A spirit no longer desiring to satisfy sinful lusts, but ever-desiring to submit to the laws of God. David perceptively understood that he needed more than a change in his behavior; he needed a change of heart. Additionally, he knew that his needed transformation of character demanded a divine miracle of the highest order. Thus, he called out to a wonder-working God to wondrously change his obstinate spirit into an obedient one. 

In Psalm 37:4, David writes, “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Many have misinterpreted this verse to mean that the Lord promises to give to those who delight themselves in Him their every desire. However, what this verse really promises is that God will give you “the desires” themselves. In other words, if you delight yourself in the Lord, then, the Lord will give you the desire to do what He wants you to. What the penitent David is praying for in Psalm 51:12, he is promising to those who delight themselves in the Lord in Psalm 37:4.

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul teaches us that God is working in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to make us willing to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). By following the desires of our Spirit indwelt hearts, we work out our salvation so that others can see the external evidence in our lives of the internal transformation Christ is working in our hearts (Philippians 2:12). Truly, what David prayed for every child of God now possesses, thanks to the indwelling Christ who is miraculously working to make Himself right at home in our transformed hearts (Ephesians 3:17).

“I fall down on my knees and pray to the Father of all the great family of God…that out of his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you the mighty inner strengthening of his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him.” (Ephesians 3:14-17 TLB)