Psalm 51: 1-17

1:1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your
abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

1:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

1:3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

1:4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.

1:5 Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.

1:6 You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

1:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than
snow.

1:8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.

1:9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

1:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.

1:11 Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.

1:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

1:13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

1:14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.

1:15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

1:16 For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.

1:17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

What blocks or separates you from God?   

What blocks or separates you from God?  What keeps you from following God?  Many times, I’ve found that it’s my own unconfessed sin that does this.  When I pray, I use the A.C.T.S. model:  Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.  After praising God, and blessing Him, and acknowledging Him to be my Lord, I move to confession.  Sometimes, when I’m not paying attention, it seems like I don’t have any sin to confess for that day! Oh, my.  Whether it’s a lack of introspection, or obdurate thoughtlessness, this failing is in opposition to verse 3 of today’s passage:  “For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.”  It’s become important to me to pray a confession for sin I’m not facing up to, for sin that I don’t WANT to confess, and even for sin I’m not aware of.

When my confession time is over, the ending to that section of my prayer is often,  “. . . and keep me forgiving of those I feel have sinned against me, Lord, that I may likewise be forgiven, and that I may have a clean heart.  ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.’”  I can then move more faithfully to verse 12 of today’s Scripture:  “Restore to me the joy of your salvation . . .”

And then what? To follow God completely, to feel closest to Him, I would sin no more.  As a weak and sinful human, though, the best I can do is repent and confess. I try to attend faithfully to verse 17: “The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”  Of course, in the normal sequence of things, even during Spirit-filled prayer, hearts don’t really break. But the image of a broken and contrite heart will do very well for a scriptural human response to confessing, and being forgiven of, sin.

With a new sense of confession of my sin, and an eternal assurance of forgiveness for that very same sin, and finally a willingness to have a broken and contrite heart, God seems closer, and the way to following Him seems clearer.  May God enable these very actions and reactions to draw us closer to His holy, and awesome, and ever-living presence this Lenten season.

Prayer:  Feel free to meditate upon this prayer today:  “Father God, I praise you, I bless you, I acknowledge you to be my Lord.  Please forgive me my sins, those that I am confessing, those that I don’t want to admit or confess, and even those of which I am unaware.  Keep me forgiving of others, too, Lord, and create in me a clean heart, a broken and a contrite heart.  Clear away all obstacles that block me from you and that keep me from following you wholly. Thank you, God.”

By Robin Kreutzberg

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