Though David wrote this psalm upon a very particular occasion, yet, it is of use to us all as are any of David’s psalms. It is the most eminent of the penitential psalms, and most expressive of the cares and desires of a repenting sinner. It is a pity indeed that in our devout addresses to God we should have anything else to do than to praise God. But we make work for ourselves by our own sins and foolishness. We must come regularly to the throne of grace and confess our sins and petition for the grace of God. ; Ask Him to create in me a clean heart
David’s repentance here is for his sin in the matter of Uriah, which was the greatest blemish upon his character. All the rest of his faults were nothing to this. It is said of him in (1 Kgs. 15:5), That “he did not turn aside from the commandment of the Lord all the days of his life, except only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.”
Those whose consciences charge them with any gross sin may sensibly apply this Psalm, which if we do appropriately we shall, through Christ, find mercy to pardon us and grace to help us.
The Weight of Sin Who could even, hope to begin To measure the full weight of sin. Our minds remain dull, our eyes grow dim Unless we truly see what has been done for us, by Him. How can our mortal minds understand, in the Words of the Son ‘My Father, if this cup of suffering cannot be taken away, Your will be done’. A man without blemish, so holy and pure Was to receive the full weight of the world’s secreted manure. A man whose radiant body, oozed an abundance of goodness from within Was to be totally consumed, by the full weight of the world’s sin. Such was the extent of this demise That God could not even look at Him with His eyes. If the world in some measure could understand, then perhaps it would see The meaning of ‘My God, My God, why did You abandon Me?’ No truth in the world can ever begin to tell What it must have meant for Jesus taking the weight of our sin, down with Him to hell. He fully understood; He knew what had to be. Hence His cry, ‘My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me?’ We are aware of our own sin, at least in part. It’s something we can’t ignore But can we imagine it multiplied, many million times more? Only when we fully understand, what for us has been done Will we be able to truly love God the Father; God the Son. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Psalm 51 – Create in me a clean heart
Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You may be justified in Your words and blameless in Your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being, and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will return to You. Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise.
A broken and contrite heart
For You will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; You will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. Do good to Zion in Your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; then will You delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on Your altar.
Henry says – The title of this Psalm has a reference to a very sad story, that of David’s fall. But, though he fell, he was not utterly cast down, for God graciously upheld him and raised him up. The sin which, in this Psalm, he laments, was the foolishness and wickedness he committed with his neighbour’s wife. His violation of Bathsheba was the inlet to all the other sins that followed, it was as the letting forth of water.
This sin of David is recorded for warning to all, that he who thinks he stands may take heed lest he fall. The repentance which he expresses was brought on by the ministry of Nathan. He had been sent by God to convince him of his sin. David had continued over nine months without any particular expressions of remorse and sorrow. But though God may suffer His people to fall into sin, and to lie a great while in it, yet He will, by some means or other, recover them to repentance, bring them to Himself and to their right mind again.
It shall be an excellent oil
Generally, God uses the ministry of the Word, yet He is not tied to it. To those who have been overtaken in any fault it is the greatest kindness to have a faithful reproof and a best friend of the one who does it. Let the righteous chastise me, and it shall be excellent oil. David, now being convinced of his sin, poured out his soul to God in prayer for mercy and grace. Where should backsliding children return to, but to the Lord their God, from whom they have backslidden? He alone can heal them.
David drew upwards, by Divine inspiration in the workings of his heart towards God. He wrote a Psalm, that it might be repeated often, and reviewed later. He committed it to be sung in public services. This as a profession of his own repentance. Those who truly repent of their sins will not be ashamed of own their repentance. Having lost the honour of innocence, they will rather covet the honour of repentance. He did this as a pattern to others to bring them to repentance by his example. But also to instruct them in their repentance in what to do and say. Being converted himself, he thus strengthens his brethren (Luke 22:32), and for this cause he obtained mercy, 1 Tim. 1:16.
He flies to God’s infinite mercy
David’s prayer is much the same as that which our Saviour puts into the mouth of the repentant in the parable: God be merciful to me a sinner! Luke 18:13. David was, upon many accounts, a man of great merit. He had not only done much, but suffered much for the cause of God. Yet, when he is convinced of sin, he does not try to balance his evil deeds with his good deeds. Nor can he think that his services will atone for his offences. But he flies to God’s infinite mercy, and depends upon that only for pardon and peace: Have mercy upon me, O God! He admits that he is obnoxious to God’s justice, and therefore casts himself upon His mercy. It is certain that the best man in the world will be undone if God is not merciful to him.
David pleads: “have mercy upon me, O God! Not according to the dignity of my birth, as descended from the prince of the tribe of Judah, not according to my public services as Israel’s champion, or my public honours as Israel’s king”. A true repentant will make no mention of any previous efforts. But he says, “Have mercy upon me for mercy’s sake. I have nothing to plead with You.”
He pleads after, “The freeness of Your mercy, according to Your lovingkindness, Your compassion, the goodness of Your nature, which inclines You to pity the miserable.” God is full of mercy. In Him there is an abundance of lovingkindness and tender mercies. A multitude of tender mercies for the forgiveness of many sinners, of many sins. He multiplies pardons as we multiply transgressions.”
It purifies and pacifies
He begs for the pardon of his sin. Blot out my transgressions, as a debt is blotted or crossed out of the book, when either the debtor has paid it or the creditor has remitted it. “Wipe out my transgressions, that they may not demand judgment against me, or stare me in the face to my confusion and terror.” The blood of Christ, sprinkled upon the conscience, purifies and pacifies. It blots out the transgression, and reconciles us to God, Ps. 51:2. “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity. Wash my soul from the guilt and stain of my sin by Your mercy and grace.
The stain is deep, for I have laid long soaking in the guilt, so that it will not easily be got out. O wash me much, wash me thoroughly. Cleanse me from my sin.” Sin defiles us, renders us odious in the sight of the holy God, and uneasy with ourselves. It unfits us for communion with God in grace or glory. When God pardons sin He cleanses us from it, so that we become acceptable to Him, at ease in ourselves, and have the liberty of access to Him.
Nathan had assured David, upon his first profession of repentance, that his sin was pardoned. The Lord has taken away your sin; you shall not die, 2 Sam. 12:13. Yet he prays, Wash me, cleanse me and blot out my transgressions. Those whose sins are pardoned must pray that the pardon may be made more and more clear to them. God had forgiven him, but he could not forgive himself. He thought himself unworthy of it and knew how to value it.
That we may be kept humble
David was very free to admit his guilt before God: I acknowledge my transgressions. This he had formerly found the only way of easing his conscience, Ps. 32:4, 5. Nathan said, you are the man. I am, says David, I have sinned. He had such a deep sense of it that he was continually thinking of it with sorrow and shame. His contrition for his sin was not a slight sudden passion, but an abiding grief. “My sin is ever before me, to humble me and mortify me, and make me continually blush and tremble. It is ever against me”, “I see it before me as an enemy, accusing and threatening me.”
David was willing to be reminded of his sin, for his further abasement. He never walked on the roof of his house without a penitent reflection on his unhappy walk there when he had seen Bathsheba. He never lay down to sleep without a sorrowful thought of the bed of his uncleanness. All reminded him of the day he made Uriah drunk and the fatal warrant he wrote and signed for his execution.
It will be of good use for us to have our sins ever before us, that by the remembrance of our past sins we may be kept humble, be armed against temptation, quickened to duty, and made patient under the cross. David confesses his actual transgressions. (Ps. 51:4): Against You, You only, have I sinned. David was a very great man, and yet, having done wrong he submits to the discipline of a repentant. He does not think that his royal dignity will excuse him from it. Rich and poor must here meet together. There is one law of repentance for both. The greatest must be judged shortly, and therefore must judge themselves now.
Against You and You only
The best men, if they sin, should give the best example of repentance. His confession is particular; “I have done this evil, this that I am now reprimanded for and this that my own conscience now blames me with.” It is good to be particular in our confessions of sin, that we may be more expressive in praying for forgiveness. We may then have more comfort in it. We ought to reflect upon our sins of weakness and the particular circumstances of our gross sins.
David aggravates the sin which he confesses and lays the load upon himself: Against You, and in Your sight. Our Saviour seems to borrow the confession which he puts into the mouth of the returning prodigal: I have sinned against heaven, and before You, Luke 15:18. There are two things David laments over in his sin:—First, That it was committed against God. To Him the affront is given, and He is the party that has been wronged. We deny His truth by our wilful sins. It is His command that we disobey, His promise that we distrust, His name that we dishonour, and it is with Him that we deal deceitfully.
Secondly, That it was committed in God’s sight. “This not only proves it, but renders it exceedingly sinful.” This should greatly humble us for all our sins, that they have been committed under the eye of God, which argues either a disbelief of His omniscience or a contempt of His justice. He justifies God in the sentence passed upon him—that the sword should never depart from his house, 2 Sam. 12:10. He is very straight-forward in own his sin, and aggravates it, that he not only might obtain the pardon of it but that by his confession he might give honour to God.
Good is the Word of the Lord
First, That God might be justified in the warnings He had spoken through Nathan. “Lord, I have nothing to say against the justice of them. I deserve what is threatened, and a thousand times worse.” Thus Eli submitted in similar warnings (1 Sam. 3:18), It is the Lord. And so to Hezekiah (2 Kgs. 20:19), Good is the Word of the Lord, which you have spoken. Secondly, That God might be clear when He judges, that is, when he executed those warnings.
David published his confession of sin that when he should come into future trouble, none might say that God had done him any wrong. For he owns that the Lord is righteous. Thus will all true penitents justify God by condemning themselves. You are just in all that is brought upon us. He confesses his original corruption (Ps. 51:5): Behold, I was shaped in iniquity. He does not call upon God to look upon it, but himself. “Come, my soul, look unto the rock out of which I was hewn, and you will find I was shaped in iniquity.
Let me consider it now, not to excuse the sin—Lord, I did so, but indeed I could not help it, my inclination led me to it”. “Let me consider it: Lord, I have not only been guilty of adultery and murder, but I have an adulterous murderous nature, therefore I abhor myself.” David elsewhere speaks of the admirable structure of his body (Ps. 139:14, 15); it was curiously wrought. Yet here he says it was shaped in iniquity, sin was twisted in with it. Not as it came out of God’s hands, but as it comes through our parents’ loins.
Make me to know wisdom
Elsewhere he speaks of the piety of his mother, that she was God’s handmaid, and he pleads his relation to her (Ps. 116:16; 86:16). Yet here he says she conceived him in sin, for though she was, by grace, a child of God, she was, by nature, a daughter of Eve, and not exempt from common issues. It is to be sadly lamented by every one of us that we brought into the world a corrupt nature, wretchedly degenerated from its primitive purity. We have from our birth the snares of sin in our bodies, the seeds of sin in our souls, and a stain of sin upon both.
This is what we call original sin, because it is as ancient as our origins, and because it is the origins of all our actual transgressions. This is that foolishness which is bound up in the heart of a child, that proneness of evil and backwardness from good. It is the burden of the regenerate and the ruin of the unregenerate. It has a leaning toward backsliding from God.
David acknowledges the grace of God (Ps. 51:6), both His good-will towards us (“You desire truth in the inward parts, You would have us all honest and sincere, and true to our profession”) and His good work in us—“In the hidden part You have made us,” and shall make, “me to know wisdom.” Truth and wisdom will go very far towards making a man a good man. What God requires of us, He Himself, works in us, and He works it by enlightening the mind, and so gains the will.
Where there is truth..
But how does this come in here? God is here justified and cleared: “Lord, You were not the author of my sin. There is no blame to be laid upon You. But I alone must bear it, for You have many a time admonished me to be sincere. You have made me to know that which, if I had duly considered, would have prevented me from falling into this sin. Had I relied upon the grace You have given me, I would have kept my integrity.”
You have made me to know wisdom, but I have not lived up to what I have known.” He is now encouraged, in his repentance, to hope that God would graciously accept him. For God had made him sincere in his resolutions never to return to foolishness again. You desire truth in the inward part, that which God has an eye to in a returning sinner, that in his spirit there be no deceit, Ps. 32:2. David was conscious of the uprightness of his heart towards God in his repentance. He then did not doubt that God would accept him.
He hoped that God would enable him to follow through his resolutions in the hidden part, in the new man, which is called the hidden man of the heart (1 Pet. 3:4). He would make him to know wisdom, so as to discern and avoid it another time. Where there is truth, God will give wisdom. Those who sincerely endeavour to do their duty shall be taught their duty.
Pardon my sins
David prays that God would cleanse him from his sins and the defilement he had contracted from them. (Ps. 51:7): “Purge me with hyssop. That is, pardon my sins, and let me know that they are pardoned, that I may be restored to those privileges which by sin I have forfeited and lost.” The expression here alludes to a ceremonial distinction. That of cleansing the leper, or those that were unclean by the touch of a body. A bunch of hyssop used in the sprinkling of blood or water removed the restraints they were laid under by their pollution.
It is founded upon gospel-grace: Purge me with hyssop, that is, with the blood of Christ applied to my soul by a lively faith. It is the blood of Christ (which is therefore called the blood of sprinkling, Heb. 12:24), that purges the conscience from dead works, from that guilt of sin and dread of God which shut us out of communion with Him. If this blood of Christ, which cleanses from all sin, cleanse us from our sin, then we shall be clean indeed, Heb. 10:2. If we be washed in this fountain opened, we shall be whiter than snow, not only acquitted but accepted. So those are who are justified. Isa. 1:18; Though your sins have been as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.
Make me hear joy
David prays that, his sins being pardoned, he might have the comfort of that pardon. He asks not to be comforted till first he is cleansed. But if the bitter root of sorrow be taken away, he can pray in faith, “Make me to hear joy and gladness (Ps. 51:8). That is, let me have well-grounded peace, of Your creating, Your speaking, so that the bones which You have broken by convictions and warnings may rejoice. May they not only be eased from the pain, but may be comforted, and, as the prophet speaks, may flourish as a herb.”
The pain of a heart truly broken for sin may well be compared to that of a broken bone. It is the same Spirit that smites and wounds as the Spirit of adoption that heals and binds up. The comfort and joy that arises from a pardon to a repentant sinner are as refreshing as perfect ease from the most exquisite pain. It is God’s work, not only to speak this joy and gladness, but to make us hear it and take the comfort of it. He earnestly desires that God would lift up the light of His countenance upon Him, and so put gladness into his heart. That he would not only be reconciled to Him, but, which is a further act of grace, let him know that he was so.
He alone can make the heart new
He prays for sanctifying grace. Every true repentant is as earnest for this as for pardon and peace, Ps. 51:10. He does not pray, “Lord, preserve my reputation,” as Saul, I have sinned, yet honour me before this people. No, his great concern is to get his corrupt nature changed. The sin he had been guilty of was an evidence of its impurity, and therefore he prays, Create in me a clean heart, O God! He now saw, more than ever, what an unclean heart he had, and sadly laments it. But he sees that it is not in his own power to change it. Therefore he begs of God (whose prerogative it is to create) that He would create in him a clean heart.
He alone can make the heart new and of His power nothing is impossible. By the Word of His power as the God of nature He created the world, and it is by the Word of His power as the God of grace that we are clean (John 15:3), and that we are sanctified, John 17:17. He prays, “Lord, renew a right spirit within me. Repair the decay of spiritual strength which this sin has been the cause of, and set me to rights again.” He had, through this issue discovered much inconsistency with himself, and therefore he prays, “Lord, fix me for the time to come, that I may never in like manner depart from You again.”
God’s will be done
He prays for the continuance of God’s good-will towards him and the progress of His good work in him, Ps. 51:11. That he might never be shut out from God’s favour again: “Do not cast me away from Your presence, as one whom You abhor and cannot look upon.” He prays that he might not be thrown out of God’s protection. But that wherever he went, he might have the Divine presence with him and be under the guidance of His wisdom and power.
“Let me not be banished from Your courts, but always have liberty of access to You by prayer.” He does not depreciate the temporal judgments which God by Nathan had threatened to bring upon him. “God’s will be done. But, Lord, do not rebuke me in Your wrath. If the sword come will not depart from my house, yet let me have a God to go to in my distresses, and all shall be well.” He prays that he might never be deprived of God’s grace: Do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. He knew he had by his sin grieved the Spirit and provoked Him to withdraw. God might justly have said that His Spirit should no more work upon him, Gen. 6:3.
Do not take Your Spirit from me
This David dreads more than anything else. We are undone if God take His Holy Spirit from us. Saul was a sad instance of this. How exceedingly sinful, how exceedingly miserable he was, when the Spirit of the Lord had departed from him! David knew it, and so begs more earnestly: “Lord, whatever You take from me, my children, my crown, my life, yet do not take not Your Holy Spirit from me” (see 2 Sam. 7:15), “but continue with me by Your Holy Spirit to perfect the work of my repentance, to prevent my relapse into sin, and to enable me to discharge my duty both.”
He prays for the restoration of Divine comforts and the perpetual communications of Divine grace, Ps. 51:12. David finds two ill effects of his sin. It had made him sad, and therefore he prays, Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation. A child of God knows no true and solid joy than the joy of God’s salvation and the hope of eternal life. By wilful sin we forfeit this joy and deprive ourselves of it. When we give ourselves so much cause to doubt in the interest of salvation, how can we expect the joy of it?
Times of refreshing shall come
But, when we truly repent, we may pray and hope that God will restore to us those joys. Those who sow in penitential tears shall reap in the joys of God’s salvation and the times of refreshing shall come. It had made David weak, and therefore he prays, “Uphold me with the free Spirit. I am ready to fall, either into sin or into despair. Lord, sustain me in my own spirit”, “it is not sufficient to be left to myself, I shall certainly sink. Therefore uphold me with Your Spirit, let Him counterwork the evil spirit that would cast me down from my excellency. Thy Spirit is a free spirit, a free gent Himself, working freely” (and that makes those free whom He works upon, for where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty).
He was conscious of having acted, in the matter of Uriah, very deceitfully. His behaviour was base and pitiful: “Lord,” he says, “let Your Spirit inspire my soul with noble and generous principles, that I may always act as becomes me.” A free spirit will be a firm and fixed spirit, and will uphold us. The more cheerful we are in our duty the more constant we shall be in it.
In verse 13 David promises what good work he shall do: I will teach transgressors Your ways. David had been himself a transgressor. He could therefore speak from experience and resolve issues, having himself found mercy with God in the way of repentance. Our way to God is by repentance. He would teach others who had sinned to take the same course that he had taken. To humble themselves, to confess their sins, and seek God’s face.
Penitents should be preachers
God’s way towards us is pardoning mercy. How ready He is to receive those who return to Him. David had formerly taught by his own example, but latterly he taught by his own experience, for their encouragement. By this Psalm he is, and will be to the world’s end, teaching transgressors, telling them what God had done for his soul. Penitents should be preachers. Solomon was and so was Paul.
Then: “Sinners shall be converted to You. They shall neither persist in their wanderings from You, nor despair of finding mercy in their return to You.” The great thing to be aimed at in teaching transgressors is their conversion to God. Happy are those who are instrumental in contributing towards it, Jas. 5:20.
David prays against the guilt of sin that he might be delivered from it and promises that then he would praise God, Ps. 51:14. The particular sin he prays against is blood-guiltiness, the sin he had now been guilty of. Having slain Uriah with the sword of the children of Ammon. He was now convinced that he was the murderer, and, hearing the blood cry to God for vengeance, he cries to God for mercy: “Deliver me from blood-guiltiness. But let me be pardoned from it and let me never be left to myself to contract the same guilt again.”
He will deliver from guilt
We should all be concerned to pray earnestly against the guilt of blood. In this prayer he eyes God as the God of salvation. Those to whom God is the God of salvation He will deliver from guilt, for He is the God of salvation from sin. We may therefore plead this with Him, “Lord, You are the God of my salvation, therefore deliver me from the dominion of sin.”
He promises that, if God would deliver him, his tongue would sing aloud of His righteousness. God should have the glory of pardoning mercy and of preventing grace. This he would endeavour to affect others with. He would sing aloud of it. (Ps. 51:15): “O Lord! open my lips, not only that I may teach and instruct sinners”, “but that my mouth may display Your praise. Not only that I may have an abundant matter for praise, but a heart enlarged in praise.”
Guilt had closed his lips, he could not pray for shame and fear. He could not come into the presence of that God whom he knew he had offended, much less speak to Him. His heart condemned him, and therefore he had little confidence towards God. It cast a dampness upon his praises. When he had lost the joy of his salvation, his harp was hung upon the willow-trees. Therefore he prays, “Lord, open my life, put my heart in tune for praise again.”
God looks at the work of the heart
David offers the sacrifice of a contrite heart, as that which he knew God would be pleased with. He knew well that the sacrificing of beasts was in itself of no account with God. (Ps. 51:16): You do not desire sacrifice (or else I would give it with all my heart to obtain pardon and peace). David would have given thousands of rams to make atonement for sin. Those who are thoroughly convinced of their misery and danger by reason of sin would spare no cost to obtain the remission of it, Mic. 6:6, 7.
But God did not value this. As a type of Christ, He did indeed require sacrifices to be offered, but He had no delight in them for any intrinsic value they had. They cannot make satisfaction for sin, so God cannot take any satisfaction in them. He knew how acceptable true repentance is to God (Ps. 51:17): The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. What good work is wrought in every true repentant—a broken spirit, and a broken and contrite heart. The work of the heart God looks at, and requires, in all religious exercises, particularly in the exercises of repentance.
It is a sharp work, no less than the breaking of the heart. Not in despair (as we say, when a man is undone, His heart is broken), but in necessary humiliation and sorrow for sin. It is a heart breaking with itself, and breaking from its sin. It is a heart pliable to the Word of God, and patient under the rod of God. A heart subdued and brought into obedience. It is a heart that is tender, like Josiah’s trembling at God’s Word. Oh that there were such a heart in us!
He requires it, He prepares it and He will accept it
How graciously God is pleased to accept this. It is the sacrifices of God, not one, but many. The breaking of Christ’s body for sin is the only sacrifice of atonement. For no other sacrifice could take away sin. But the breaking of our hearts over sin is a sacrifice to God. He requires it, He prepares it (He provides this lamb for a burnt-offering), and He will accept it. That which pleases God is not the pampering of our flesh, but the mortifying of it. The sacrifice was bound, bled and burnt. So the repentant heart is bound by convictions, bleeds in contrition, and then burns in holy zeal against sin and for God.
The broken heart is acceptable to God only through Jesus Christ. There is no true repentance without faith in Him. This is the sacrifice which He will not despise. Men despise that which is broken, but God will not. He will not overlook or reject a broken heart. The great God overlooks heaven and earth, to look with favour upon a broken and contrite heart, Isa. 66:1; Isa. 57:15.
David now intercedes for Zion and Jerusalem, with an eye to the honour of God. He had great concern for God’s people. (Ps. 51:18): Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion. That is, “To all the particular worshippers in Zion, to all who love and fear Your name. Keep them from falling into such wounding, wasting sins as these of mine. Defend and help all who fear Your name.” Those who have been in spiritual troubles themselves know how to pity and pray for those who are in like manner afflicted.
You shall be pleased with them
When we have attended to our own business at the throne of grace, we must not forget to pray for God’s people. The Master, Himself taught us in our daily prayers to begin with, Hallowed be Your name, Thy kingdom come. If God would show Himself reconciled to us, then we should go on with the public services of furthering His interests.
The sense of God’s goodness to us enlarges our hearts in all the instances and expressions of thankfulness and obedience. “You shall be pleased with them, that is, we shall have reason to hope when we perceive that sin has been taken away. It is a great comfort to a good man to think of the communion that is between God and His people. He is honoured by their humble attendance on Him and they are happy in His gracious acceptance of it.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Prayer for the Day
Father, I come to You. I thank You that though You may suffer us to fall into sin, and let us lie in them for a great while, yet You will, by some means or other, recover us to repentance, bring us back to Yourself and back to our right minds again. May I be convinced of my sins and not turn a blind eye to them. Cause me to pour out my soul to You in prayer for mercy and grace. Where I am backslidden in any area, may I return to You, my Lord and God. For You alone can heal me.
Thank You that You are full of mercy. In You there is an abundance of lovingkindness and tender mercies. A multitude of tender mercies for the forgiveness of many sins. You multiply pardons as we multiply transgressions. May I be reminded of past sins that I be kept humble, armed against temptation and quickened to be made patient under the cross. When I am confessing my sins cause me to be more expressive in praying for forgiveness.
Remind me that any sin I commit is done under Your eye, that I may never be in disbelief of Your omniscience or in contempt of Your justice. For You are righteous. May I justify You and so condemn myself and never the other way round. May truth and wisdom be inherent in me. Thank You that what You require of me, You, Yourself work in me. Please enlighten my mind, and so gain my will. May I rely upon the grace You have given me, and so keep my integrity.
Make me to know wisdom and so discern and avoid temptation to sin in the future. For where there is truth, You will give wisdom. May I sincerely endeavour to do all my duty toward You and so be taught it.
Pardon my sins, and let me know that they are pardoned, that I may be restored to those privileges which by sin I have forfeited and lost. Thank You that the blood of Christ applied to my soul cleanses me from all sin. May my faith-life be lively and active, especially in the area of repentance. Let me have well-grounded peace, of Your creating and Your speaking, so that the bones which You break by convictions and warnings may rejoice.
Speak Your joy and gladness over me that I may hear it and take the comfort from it. Lift up the light of Your countenance upon me and so put gladness in my heart. May my greatest concern be to get my corrupt nature changed. Yet I know that it is not in my own power to change it. Therefore I beg of You that You would create in me a clean heart.
You alone can make the heart new and of Your power nothing is impossible. Repair the decay of spiritual strength which my sins are the cause of, and set me to rights again. I see the inconsistency with myself and I ask that You fix me that I may never in any way depart from You again. Wherever I go may I have Your Divine presence with me and be under the guidance of Your wisdom and power.
Your will be done, O Lord. I am undone if You take Your Holy Spirit from me. Lord continue with me by Your Holy Spirit to perfect the work of my repentance, to prevent any relapse into sin, and so enable me to discharge my duty to You.
There is no true and solid joy than the joy of Your salvation and the hope of eternal life. I pray that You will restore those joys to me that times of refreshing shall come. Do not leave me to myself for I shall certainly sink. Therefore uphold me with Your Spirit, counterwork the evil spirit that would cast me down.
May I be firm and fixed. Cause me to be cheerful in my duty and so be the more constant in it. May I always be willing to humble myself, confess my sins and seek Your face. May I never be guilty of blood-sins, those murderous sins which originate in hate for another. Break my heart with the things that break Your heart. May my heart be pliable to Your Word and patient under Your rod. May it be subdued and brought into obedience. Cause it always to be tender, trembling at Your Word.
I know that that which pleases You is not the pampering of my flesh, but the mortifying of it. Cause me to be willing. May my heart be ever repentant, bound by convictions, bleeding in contrition, and burning in holy zeal against sin and for You. I know there is no true repentance without faith, therefore let my faith arise.
When You show Yourself reconciled to me, then cause me to go on with the public services of furthering Your interests and by my example and experience lead others to repentance. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.
Psalm 51 – Create in me a clean heart