A Study in the Book of Psalms-Lesson Two: January 14, 2018 Written by Robin Kidd
Dealing with Sin in our Lives
Scripture: Psalm 51
Lesson Goal: To understand the effect sin has on our lives and to learn that God can still turn it around for His glory.
Background: “A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him”, after his encounter with Bathsheba.
Introduction: Most of us have probably heard the story of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11). King David walked out on the roof of his house one evening and saw Bathsheba bathing. David inquired about her and even though he was told that she was the wife of Uriah, the Hittite, he sent for her and she conceived. Bath- sheba’s husband was on the battlefield at the time fighting for King David and the army of Israel. Trying to cover his sin, David sent for Uriah to come back to Jerusalem to be with his wife so it would appear as if she had conceived from her husband. However, Uriah refused out of respect for his fellow soldiers who were still in battle. David devised a plan to have Uriah put on the front lines and killed. 2 Samuel 11 ends by saying, “But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.”
In 2 Samuel 12, we see the Lord sending Nathan the Prophet to King David to confront him about his sin. Na- than tells David that the Lord says, “For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun” (2 Samuel 12:12). In verse 14, Nathan prophecies that this child Bathsheba had with David would die. This comes to pass in verse 19.
Now in our study for today, Psalm 51, we see the turmoil and emotions David endures because of this sin in his life.
Psalm 51:1-2: A Cry for Mercy
(v1) “Have mercy upon me O God, according to Your lovingkindness.” The definition of “mercy” is compas- sion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.” David knew what God could do and that He had every right to do it. But David pleaded with the Lord to not give him what he deserved. At this point, David understood that he could not go back and undo what he had done. All he could do was to plead with God to have mercy on him.
Question: Have you ever wished you could go back and undo something you have done?
Question: Have you lived with this regret for a long time?
People sometimes live all their lives in a state of shame, guilt, or regret because of a past sin or sins. The reali- ty is we cannot go back and change anything. The only thing we can do is what David did in these verses. Go before the Lord and cry out for mercy.
pride no long matters.
Question: Have you ever gotten to the point in your life where you were so desperate for peace that pride no longer mattered?
(v3b) “my sin is always before me.” David was constantly aware of his sin. It was as if it always ran ahead of him and would not leave him alone.
Do you realize that one of the things Satan loves to do in a Believer’s life is to steal their joy? He can no long- er steal their soul so his goal is to destroy their witness so they cannot lead others to Christ. A Christian who has no joy is not going to be a very effective witness. Unconfessed sin and joy do not go together. David real- ized that to get his sin behind him, instead of always before him, he had to go to God and confess it.
(v4) “Against You, You only, have I sinned.” We have probably all heard people say that all sin is equal and that no sin is greater than any other. In reality I am not sure we really believe this. Many times we are quick to ridicule others who stumble or fall in the public arena, while at the same time, our lives are no cleaner in our private places. It is as if as long as the world judges us to be righteous, we are okay. The truth is however, that there is only one Judge and He see all! David acknowledges that regardless of how the world judges him he is guilty before the One that truly matters.
Question: Have you ever not taken a sin in your life seriously just because no one saw it?
Question: Should we have to get caught before we take our sin seriously?
As a true believer, we carry the Name of the Lord. Anyone who carries the Name of the Lord sins first and foremost against Him. His Name is dishonored! When we proclaim we are one of His, we are saying that we live by His strength and power, not our own. By sinning, we say that His strength and power are not enough and our enemy (Satan) or enemies take the opportunity to blaspheme the Lord. Please read 2 Samuel 12:14.
Psalm 51:7-12: A Plea for Cleansing
Now that David has begged for mercy and acknowledged his sin before God, he asks for a fresh new start.
(v10a) “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” David understood that all his problems started in his heart. He entertained evil thoughts until at last he committed the sins. David knew he needed to be changed from the inside out. His outward actions were a reflection of what was on the inside of him.
Question: Do you need a fresh start? Do you need God to do something new inside of you?
(v10b) “Renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Merriam-Webster defines “steadfast” as “firmly fixed in place; immovable.” David knows that only through the Lord can he live a life that is firm and immovable against any future thoughts of sin.
As Believers, we have the greatest protector against sin living inside of us. The Holy Spirit is immovable and greater than any temptation that comes our way. It is only when we try to take over an do it ourselves that we
Psalm 51:13-17: A Vow to Tell
(v13a) “I will teach transgressors Your ways.”
(v14b) “My tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.” (v15b) “My mouth shall show forth Your praise.”
Only God can turn a mess into a message. A test into a testimony
A trial into a triumph
A victim into a victory
David knew he was not the only one who had fallen short of what God desired. He had experienced the pain, guilt, and shame that sin brings and the way it can hold someone in absolute bondage. But now as he called out and felt the mercy, grace and love of his Heavenly Father, he realized that he could tell others what God had done for him and that they could return as well.
Question: Have you ever believed that because of something in your past, God could not use you? King Da- vid was an adulterer and a murderer. What have you done?
Question: Why could God not use you just like He used David to help others realize the forgiveness and re- storative love of God?
In 1 Samuel 13:14 the Lord that David was “a man after My own heart.” This meant that David did every- thing the Lord commanded him to do. This obviously did not mean that he was perfect as we have seen from the scripture. Can you imagine how it broke God’s heart to see David entangled in such sin. Yet despite all the disappointment, as David came to God with complete humility and honesty, God forgave him, restored him, and used his shortcomings for His glory.
Do you realize there is nothing you have done that is beyond the forgiveness and restoration of God? You do not have to live in bondage for sin any longer. Follow David’s example: Cry out for mercy, confess it to God, beg for cleansing, and pray that He will use you to help others return to Him as well.