Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7
Confession of Sin
David’s great penitential psalm was written after his adultery with Bathsheba. Confession of his sin brings forgiveness and cleansing, renewing David’s ability to once again serve the Lord.
“Truth” (51:6). The basic concept underlying the Heb. Word for “truth” is that of reliability. A thing is true because it accords with reality and can be relied on. The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words (Zondervan, 1985) says,” ‘Truth in the inward parts’ (Ps. 51:6) is probably best interpreted by 1 John 1. It is living honestly with God and self, confessing failures and yet struggling to choose the path God has laid out in revelation.” In short, being real in our relationship with God and ourselves means a total honesty in evaluating all we do.
6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
Psalm 51:6 Inward parts, a rare word in the Hebrew Bible, indicates something clouded over, difficult for anyone but God to see. The Lord’s penetrating gaze searches the innermost recesses of a person’s mind an d heart.
51:10 Create a pure heart. We are born in sin, but we are reborn with a pure heart.
51:11 Taking away the Holy Spirit? In the OT the Holy Spirit was experienced by believers as an enabling divine presence. But Saul, David’s predecessor, had been deprived of the Spirit’s presence because of his sin (1 Sam. 16:14). David, then, is expressing concern that his sin might be so great that God would also remove His Spirit from him. There is a vital difference, however, between the enabling presence of the Spirit we see in the OT and the indwelling presence of the Spirit seen in the NT. God’s Spirit is His guarantee of redemption (Eph. 1:13-14).
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who  is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:13, 14
51:13 Then. To reach the lost, you and I must live close to God.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.
51:16 You do not desire sacrifice: The key term here is the verb desire, which means “to find pleasure in.” God’s pleasure is not in the sacrificed animal, but in the restored person. He demanded sacrifices, even from David; but His pleasure is in the person who comes obediently to Him. Actions not accompanied by a contrite heart are not acceptable to God.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.
51:17 What God wants of us. David calls for a “broken spirit” and a “broken contrite heart.” Don’t make the mistake of thinking this means God seeks to crush us, or turn us into a weeping nobodies. Each image reflects back on David’s willful sin in taking Bathsheba and is an admission of his lack of humility before God. David knew what was right, but did wrong anyway! The broken and contrite heart is ever responsive to God willing to do His will.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart– These, O God, You will not despise.
⇒ Our hearts are so dark. But we desire to have pure hearts. We can ask God to make it happen. But we have to first say sorry and mean it. That’s all God requires.
A Prayer for Cleansing
51 1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight– That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. 6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. 9 Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. 16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart– These, O God, You will not despise. 18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, With burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.