Psalms 51 pt I

Dr. Steve Viars August 14, 1993 Psalms 51:

- we're continuing on in our study of Psalms
- last week I mentioned that one of our goals for this series
   is that we'll remember a main theme/identifying idea from
   each of the Psalms we study.

- like last week, on the board I've listed the four Psalms
   we've studied so far and the four major themes -- let's
   see if we can match them up.
- (right answers)

    Psalm 1 - how to have a blessed, happy life

    Psalm 8 - Having the right view of God

    Psalm 15 - How to have fellowship with God both now and
      in eternity.

    Psalm 27 - Responding to enemies with confidence instead
     of fear.

- this morning we're going to study one of the most familiar
   of the Psalms, Psalm 51.
     - this is such an important passage of Scripture that
       we're actually planning to take two weeks to study it.

- it's very important that we understand the background for
   what David is writing here.

   - let me ask you turn back in your Bibles to II Sam. 11
   - I'm going to break you into small groups and ask you to
       go through the printed questions on the back of your
       handouts as quickly as possible.

                 Questions on II Samuel 11-12

Read II Sam. 11:1 - 12:18 and answer the following questions

1. (Verse 1) - Where should David have been during this time
    of year?

2. (Verses 2-5) - At what point did David's actions become

3. (Verses 6-13) - What was David trying to accomplish with
    Uriah in these verses and was it effective?

4. (Verses 14-24) - What was David trying to accomplish with
    Uriah in these verses and was it effective?


5. (Verse 25) How would you describe David's reaction to the
    news he received in this verse?


6. (Verses 12:1-4) What was the point of Nathan's story?


7. (Verse 5-6) - How would you describe David's reaction and
    what does this tell us about David's spiritual condition
    at this time?


8. (Verses 7-12) - How was David punished for his sin?



- we said a couple of weeks ago that the book of Psalms deals
   with some of the most important issues of life.
- this chapter surely is an evidence of that:
   - we're talking about the question; "What should I do
     after I've sinned?" or "What should I do when I've
     really blown it?"

- let me ask you this question this morning:
   INPUT - why are we in need of what Psalm 51 teaches? (or,
     what will happen if we don't apply Psalm 51 after we've


- (if time) - INPUT - what are some of the substitutes our
     world offers at times like these?

     1) cover it up

     2) just turn over a new leaf

     3) blame it on your ancestors

     4) move, change jobs, just get a fresh start

     5) make excuses

     6) be defensive

     7) do anything but admit it.

- let's look for the instructions God gives us when we're in
   this condition.

I. A Prayer Of Repentance

    A. Cry for mercy

        - David's first step in getting back on the right
          path was to cry out for God's mercy.
        - He said:
           - "have mercy on me O God..."
           - "according unto the multitude of thy tender

        - a good working definition of mercy is "God
            withholding from us what we rightly deserve."
        - (contrast to grace - God giving us what we don't

        - believers ought to be appreciative of, and aware of
           their need for the mercy of God.

           - cf. Lam. 3:22

- David didn't hide from the Lord (at least at this point)--
  nor did he come with excuses, arguments. justifications
    - He came pleading for the mercy of God.

- verse 1 also gives an evidence of what will happen as a
   result of God's mercy:

   - David talks about his sins being "blotted out."

      - the word literally means "to wipe off, remove, erase,
          get rid of."

    - David is saying, do whatever is necessary for me to be
       restored in my lifestyle and relationship to you
       before this happened.

- verse 2 gives another characteristic that must be present
   if I'm going to handle sin God's way:

    B. A request for cleansing

    - the verse says - wash me thoroughly and cleanse me from
        my sin.

- these verses give us some evidences of whether a person is
   really repentant or not

   1) Am I sorry because I got caught or because I offended
        God (see following verses)

   2) Do I really want to change or do I want to do as little
        as possible to get this behind me?

- INPUT - let's think about how this could be true today,
    either of one of our children who has sinned, or you and
    I when we have sinned.  What are some evidences of a
    person who wants to be "thoroughly washed" from his sins?

    (mention - seeks to gain a more comprehensive view of
       sin--recommend "Forgotten Factors" book)

    C. A recognition of sin

        - verse 3-4
        - David says in verse 3 - I acknowledge my sin.
          - in other words, I admit that I was wrong--I admit
              that I am guilty

          - no excuses, defending--instead, a clear
              acknowledgement of sin.

- one writer on this subject said, "True confession is not a
lifeless acknowledgement of committed sin. It is a vivid
consciousness of one's sinfulness, accompanied by
restlessness, anguish, and a burden of guilt that causes a
man to cry out for mercy.  David acknowledged his
transgressions in the light of their awful significance.  So
intense was David's guilt that he could never forget his sin.
Regardless of the beauty of the evening or the peacefulness
of the hillside, his transgressions loomed before him.  He
could not escape their haunting presence in his life. God had
used the searing words of Nathan the prophet like a branding
iron to impress upon David's mind the reality that he, like
any of his humblest subjects, was a sinner.
- you might look at verse 4 and say - "How could that be
   INPUT - please tell me - why do we struggle with this
     verse?  (because it leaves out the many people who were
     also sinned against.)

     - however, it's important that we don't miss the very
       important point that David is making here--his
       recognition of how he had sinned against a holy God
       was so focused and so intense--(at least at this point
       in the repentance process)--that there "wasn't room"
       for thinking about everyone else involved  (that would
       come later)
        - but now it was time to think about how what
           happened on that warm evening in Jerusalem (and
           the subsequent sins against other people) was
           first and foremost an offense against God.

- that perspective doesn't come automatically, but it has to
   come if you and I are going to be genuinely repentant.
     - this recognition would also help us cut down on some
       of the blaming and excusing
         - when we're focused on the people involved--we
           might try to blame as much of it on their sins and
           shortcomings as possible
             - but when we focus on how we sinned against
               God--there aren't any excuses or reasons for

- there's a number of places in the Scripture that attempt to
   help us see sin from this perspective.
     - I Cor. 8:12 - READ

     - of this these verses ought to lead us to some
        questions.  How faithful are you at confessing your
        sins to the Father?
          - it's possible for a person to have progressed
             spiritually to the point of asking other
             people's forgiveness when they've sinned--but
             not to recognize that sin as an affront against
             a holy God.

- we need to hear David's emphasis; "Against thee and thee
    only have I sinned."

D. A Realization of depravity

    - verses 5-6

    - you know that David's not saying the procreation
      process is sinful--that would violate a number of other
      passages in the Scripture.

    - but the point David is making here is an important one:
        - let's "bat it around for a minute" - INPUT - how
          does this concept fit in with what David is
          discussing and why is it an important part of the
          repentance process?

        - (he realized that this wasn't a "freak event," or
            an "oops," or a "one time only issue.")
- it was part of his lifelong, ongoing struggle with sin
- in verses 7-12, the passage takes a different direction.
   - verses 1-6 mainly deal with David's admission or
        - i.e. "here's what I've done,"

   - verses 7-12 are David's prayer requests.
   - he recognizes the important balance between what he must
      do in the repentance process, and what He must ask God
      to do.

      - repentance that focuses only on what God must do is
         irresponsible and incomplete.
      - repentance that focuses only on what man must do is
         humanistic, "of the flesh," and sure to fall short.
      - nowhere is the delicate balance between God's
         sovereignty and human responsibility more important.

- instead of going verse by verse through this part of the
   passage, we'd like to "draw out" three main themes that
   are actually repeated in the verses:

II. A Prayer Of Renewal

    A. I ask for your cleansing

        - v. 7, v. 10

        - David needed to be cleansed positionally so he
          could be returned to a position of favor before God
        - He also needed to be cleansed practically so he
           would not repeat this kind of sinfulness in the

- the believer in Christ also needs to be cleansed.

    - we're cleansed by the blood of Christ at salvation
      (Hebrews 9:11-15, 10:22)
    - we're cleansed through the Word as we continue to grow
       - (Eph. 5:26)

    B. I ask for your forgiveness

        - v. 9, 11


    C. I ask for restored joy in you

        - v. 8, v. 12

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

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