Psalm 51: According to Your Faithful Love
Perhaps David felt like his life was unraveling. Over the years, he had risen up to be a great warrior and king, obviously blessed by God. In his youth, David had slain the great giant Goliath. He had lead armies against Israel’s enemies, trusting God to provide the victory.
But in a short matter of time, David found himself tangled in a web of adultery and lies. When Bathsheba got pregnant, David plotted the murder of her husband so no one would discover what he had done. For a while, David’s plan seemed to work. David took the widow into his house and made her his wife. She gave birth to David’s child, a son.
David had hidden his sin from those around him, but God knew. In fact, “the Lord considered what David had done to be evil” (2 Sam. 11:27). God sent Nathan the prophet to talk to David. God used Nathan to convict David of his sin. God was fully aware of what David had done. David responded, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Sam. 12:13).
The repentant response of David is recorded in Psalm 51. Though your sin may not look just like David’s sin, David’s words should resonate in the heart of every sinner.
For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me. Against You—You alone—I have sinned and done this evil in Your sight. So You are right when You pass sentence; You are blameless when You judge. Indeed, I was guilty when I was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me.
David recognized his own guilt and that God would be totally justified in handing down the punishment he deserved. But he humbly pleaded for God to be merciful—to give him favor he didn’t deserve.
The Bible is clear that the punishment for sin is death. (See Rom. 6:23.) Everyone has sinned, and God would be totally justified in handing down the punishment we deserve. But David was right when he said that God’s mercy is abundant. This is the gospel, the good news: Jesus lived the perfect life we do not live and died the guilty death we don’t want to die. When we repent of our sins and trust in Him, God forgives our sins and gives us eternal life.
David asked God to give him a clean heart and a renewed, right spirit. When kids hear about David’s sin through The Gospel Project for Kids, help them connect their own sinfulness with God’s merciful provision of a Savior. Like David, we need more than a changed lifestyle to be made right with God; we need new hearts. Jesus died to satisfy God’s wrath against sin so that we could be made alive in Him.