1.  When studying Psalm 51 and Psalm 32 we must be familiar with the book of Second Samuel.
2.  The book of Second Samuel easily divides into three sections:
a.  David’s Triumphs (ch. 1-10).
b.  David’s Transgressions (ch. 11).
c.  David’s Troubles (ch. 12-24).
3.  David’s transgressions in Second Samuel 11 describe the problem that David is dealing with in Psalm 51 and Psalm 32.
4.  Actually, we can view the three sections as follows:
a.  David’s Problem for which he needed forgiveness (2 Sam. 11).
b.  David’s Prayer in which he asked for forgiveness (Ps. 51).
c.  David’s Praise in which he was thankful for forgiveness (Ps. 32).
5.  Psalm 51 deals with David’s prayer for forgiveness.
6.  According to Second Samuel 12:13 David said, when confronted by Nathan the prophet concerning his adultery with Bathsheba and his murdering of Uriah, “I have sinned against the Lord.”  But there was far more to his confession than just those words as is seen in Psalm 51.
7.  We will study the Psalm in three parts:
a.  David’s Confidence (Ps. 51:1-2).
b.  David’s Confession (Ps. 51:3-12).
c.  David’s Commitment (Ps. 51:13-19).
I.       David’s Confidence (Ps. 51:1-2).
A. Everything that David says in this Psalm is based on his confidence in the “loving kindness” and “tender mercies” of God (v.1). There was no doubt, worry, or wondering about God being merciful to him. He was certain and assured in his own mind that God would be merciful to him.

B. Jonah also knew that God is “a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness” (Jn. 4:2).  This is why he didn’t want to go to Nineveh.  He knew God would be abundantly merciful to the undeserving.

C. And because of David’s confidence he knew he could pray for God to:
a. “Have mercy on me” (v.1a)
b. “Blot out my transgressions” (v.1b).
c. “Wash me thoroughly from iniquity” (v.2a).
d. “Cleanse me from my sin.”

D. In Psalm 52:8 he wrote “I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever” (See also Psalm 13:5).

E. He knew that God would show His “marvelous loving kindness” and “save those who trust” in Him (Ps. 17:7).

F. Because we believe, we ask Him to “blot out” (v.1).
Because we know He is willing we ask Him to “wash” (12a).
Because we have confidence we ask Him to “cleanse” (v.2b).

G. David was confident that His God was compassionate and this led him to seek forgiveness.
II.      David’s Confession (Psalm 51:3-12).
A. David’s confidence led to David’s confession
B. The “goodness of God” leads us to “repentance” (Rom. 2:4).

C. In his confession we notice:
a. What he admitted (vs. 3-5).
1. It was “my transgressions,” “my sin,” “I sinned,” and “I was brought forth in iniquity” (vs. 3-5).
2. He did not blame his genes.  He did not blame his environment.  He did not blame Bathesheba. He did not blame his wives. And he did not blame God.
3. David knew what James later wrote, “each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:14).
4. Not many times in the Bible do you read, “I have sinned.”
5. Some Christians today seem to have trouble admitting that they sin.  They may have “faults,” or “make mistakes,” or “have weaknesses,” but simply admitting that they have sinned and are sinners seems to be extremely hard for some.
6. But “confessing our sins” and admitting that we sin is necessary for forgiveness (1 Jn. 1:9).
7. It is not “for ya’ll have sinned” but we “all” have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).
8. If we say we “have no sin” we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 Jn. 1:8).
9. “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Lk. 18:13) can be said by the mature Christians as well as the beginner.
10. Remember that in First John 1:9 God says “If we confess (acknowledge, admit) our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
 b. What he asked (Psalm 51:7-12).
1. “Purge me…” (v.7a)
2. “Wash me…” (v. 7b)
3. “Make me…” (v. 8”
4. “Create in me…” (v. 10)
5. “Restore to me…” (v.12a)
6. “Uphold me…” (v. 12b)

D. David was confident that God could do all of these things but also that He would them.

E. We too can “come boldly to the throne of His grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).        
III.  David’s Commitment
A. David’s confidence led to David’s confession which led to his commitment. Note what he said:
1. Then I will teach transgressors your ways (v. 13).
2. My tongue shall sing of your righteousness (v. 14).
3. My mouth shall show forth your praise (v.15)
4. I will offer You the sacrifice You desire which is a “broken and contrite spirit” (vs. 16-17).
B. Because of God’s mercy we can also be forgiven when we turn to Jesus by confessing our need for forgiveness (Titus 3:3-6; 1 Jn. 1:9).

C. This should lead us to fulfill our commitment to love Jesus and to tell others about Him.
Wayne Dunaway

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