Meditations on the Psalms #114

Day 114

Psalm 51 part 2

David used several words to speak of his offense against God. ‘Transgressions’ has the idea of crossing a boundary. ‘Iniquity’ has the idea of twistedness or perversion. Sin has the idea of falling short or missing the mark. (It is an archery term.) Paul used the same term in Phil4:14.

David had sinned against Bathsheba, Uriah, their families, his family, his kingdom, and in a sense even against his own body (1 Corinthians 6:18). Yet all of that faded into the background as he considered in v3 the greatness of his sin to be against God only. David realized that God was there and God was looking when he did his evil. He was not absent from the bedroom of adultery or the place where the command to kill Uriah was given.

David’s confession of sin was not only to relieve himself of the great burden of his sin and guilt. More so, it was to bring glory to God. In confessing his sin v4, David hoped to confirm God’s justice and holy character, proving that His commands were good and just even when David broke those commands.

The purpose of v5 was to show the depths of his sin, that it went beyond specific sinful actions all the way to a stubborn sin nature, one he and all humanity in their depravity are born with. In v6 David tells us that God requires truth in our desires.

In v7 David looked for God to do a work of spiritual and moral cleansing, and to do it in connection with the atoning sacrifice of a substitute. Hyssop was used to apply the blood of the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:22). Hyssop was also used to sprinkle the priest’s purifying water (Numbers 19:18). Here the psalmist petitions the Lord to be his priest by taking the hyssop and by declaring him cleansed (purified) from all sin on the basis of a substitutionary sacrifice – which would ultimately be Christ. David didn’t think for a moment that he could cleanse himself. He needed God to cleanse him, and to do it through the blood of the perfect sacrifice anticipated by animal sacrifices.

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