Wednesday, February 14: Psalm 51
A little background before we start: Psalm 51 is a direct response from King David after sinning against God by stealing a wife, Bathsheba, from Uriah. David conceived a child with Bathsheba and, to hide his sins, killed Uriah. In a short period of time David coveted, stole, committed adultery, and murdered Bathsheba’s husband Uriah. David, in fact, had transgressed every commandment in a very short period of time. Although we have all sinned against God, most of us haven’t hit the big time as David did.
A wise man once said, “A man cannot cope with guilt alone.” No one can go it alone, and Psalm 51 reinforces our need to have a Savior. It does not matter how many worship services one attends or good deeds one does; one just cannot be good enough alone. Stop trying to redeem yourself; it just cannot be done without God in your corner. YOU NEED A SAVIOR and so does David. As Psalm 51 tells us, we need a higher being to forgive us, and that higher being is God.
Psalm 51 promises us many things. It promises that the Lord will take away our sins and have mercy on us. It promises that God has unfailing love and compassion and that God will, “wash away all my iniquity.” It promises to cleanse our sins. Psalm 51 tells us that “against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” It promises that God will “create in me a pure heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Finally, Psalm 51 promises to bring us back into God’s loving arms: “restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.”
Many congregations use Psalm 51 as the main reading for their Ash Wednesday service. The Lenten season begins with Ash Wednesday, when we Christians live out the words of Psalm 51. During Lent we look to God to forgive us, cleanse us, and renew our spirit, just as he did for David more than two thousand years ago.