One of the standout features of Psalm 51 to me is the honesty shown by David as he prayed the words of this wonderful prayer to God from his heart.
Nathan the prophet had come to see him, after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged the murder of her husband, to bring the king a word from God. This was a quite a courageous act from Nathan to confront the king with God’s word.
How would David react to Nathan’s word? Would he accept it or reject it?
David could have said:
- I’m the king I can do what I like?
- It was not 100% my fault. Bathsheba is partly to blame too.
- I could not help it as she was very attractive.
However David does not respond like that. He acknowledges his sin before God, taking full responsibility for his actions and recognising his wickedness he prays:
“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (v3-5)
If you are looking to use some scripture to aid you in asking God for forgiveness then this Psalm is a good place to look.
David was very honest about his sin before God. He confessed it and stopped trying to hide it turning to God in deep repentance. We can learn much from this.