Psalms 51

* The psalmist prays for mercy, humbly confessing and lamenting

his sins. (1-6) He pleads for pardon, that he may promote the

glory of God and the conversion of sinners. (7-15) God is

pleased with a contrite heart, A prayer for the prosperity of

Zion. (16-19)1-6 David, being convinced of his sin, poured out his soul to

God in prayer for mercy and grace. Whither should backsliding

children return, but to the Lord their God, who alone can heal

them? he drew up, by Divine teaching, an account of the workings

of his heart toward God. Those that truly repent of their sins,

will not be ashamed to own their repentance. Also, he instructs

others what to do, and what to say. David had not only done

much, but suffered much in the cause of God; yet he flees to

God's infinite mercy, and depends upon that alone for pardon and

peace. He begs the pardon of sin. The blood of Christ, sprinkled

upon the conscience, blots out the transgression, and, having

reconciled us to God, reconciles us to ourselves. The believer

longs to have the whole debt of his sins blotted out, and every

stain cleansed; he would be thoroughly washed from all his sins;

but the hypocrite always has some secret reserve, and would have

some favorite lust spared. David had such a deep sense of his

sin, that he was continually thinking of it, with sorrow and

shame. His sin was committed against God, whose truth we deny by

wilful sin; with him we deal deceitfully. And the truly penitent

will ever trace back the streams of actual sin to the fountain

of original depravity. He confesses his original corruption.

This is that foolishness which is bound in the heart of a child,

that proneness to evil, and that backwardness to good, which is

the burden of the regenerate, and the ruin of the unregenerate.

He is encouraged, in his repentance, to hope that God would

graciously accept him. Thou desirest truth in the inward part;

to this God looks, in a returning sinner. Where there is truth,

God will give wisdom. Those who sincerely endeavour to do their

duty shall be taught their duty; but they will expect good only

from Divine grace overcoming their corrupt nature.
7-15 Purge me with hyssop, with the blood of Christ applied to

my soul by a lively faith, as the water of purification was

sprinkled with a bunch of hyssop. The blood of Christ is called

the blood of sprinkling, #Heb 12:24|. If this blood of Christ,

which cleanses from all sin, cleanse us from our sin, then we

shall be clean indeed, #Heb 10:2|. He asks not to be comforted,

till he is first cleansed; if sin, the bitter root of sorrow, be

taken away, he can pray in faith, Let me have a well-grounded

peace, of thy creating, so that the bones broken by convictions

may rejoice, may be comforted. Hide thy face from my sins; blot

out all mine iniquities out of thy book; blot them out, as a

cloud is blotted out and dispelled by the beams of the sun. And

the believer desires renewal to holiness as much as the joy of

salvation. David now saw, more than ever, what an unclean heart

he had, and sadly laments it; but he sees it is not in his own

power to amend it, and therefore begs God would create in him a

clean heart. When the sinner feels this change is necessary, and

reads the promise of God to that purpose, he begins to ask it.

He knew he had by his sin grieved the Holy Spirit, and provoked

him to withdraw. This he dreads more than anything. He prays

that Divine comforts may be restored to him. When we give

ourselves cause to doubt our interest in salvation, how can we

expect the joy of it? This had made him weak; he prays, I am

ready to fall, either into sin or into despair, therefore uphold

me with thy Spirit. Thy Spirit is a free Spirit, a free Agent

himself, working freely. And the more cheerful we are in our

duty, the more constant we shall be to it. What is this but the

liberty wherewith Christ makes his people free, which is

contrasted with the yoke of bondage? #Ga 5:1|. It is the Spirit

of adoption spoken to the heart. Those to whom God is the God of

salvation, he will deliver from guilt; for the salvation he is

the God of, is salvation from sin. We may therefore plead with

him, Lord, thou art the God of my salvation, therefore deliver

me from the dominion of sin. And when the lips are opened, what

should they speak but the praises of God for his forgiving

16-19 Those who are thoroughly convinced of their misery and

danger by sin, would spare no cost to obtain the remission of

it. But as they cannot make satisfaction for sin, so God cannot

take any satisfaction in them, otherwise than as expressing love

and duty to him. The good work wrought in every true penitent,

is a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, and sorrow

for sin. It is a heart that is tender, and pliable to God's

word. Oh that there were such a heart in every one of us! God is

graciously pleased to accept this; it is instead of all

burnt-offering and sacrifice. The broken heart is acceptable to

God only through Jesus Christ; there is no true repentance

without faith in him. Men despise that which is broken, but God

will not. He will not overlook it, he will not refuse or reject

it; though it makes God no satisfaction for the wrong done to

him by sin. Those who have been in spiritual troubles, know how

to pity and pray for others afflicted in like manner. David was

afraid lest his sin should bring judgements upon the city and

kingdom. No personal fears or troubles of conscience can make

the soul, which has received grace, careless about the interests

of the church of God. And let this be the continued joy of all

the redeemed, that they have redemption through the blood of

Christ, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his

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