Broken and Contrite Heart
Psalm 51:1-17 (NIV)
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
After Nathan confronted David, David realized the magnitude of his sin and how he sinned against God. How long did it take before David wrote this Psalm? I’m not sure. After confession, how long should it take for me to feel the way that David felt? I’m also not too sure about that, although I know that if David had a very strong relationship with God for a long time and then had to repent, surely he would he would be moved in his heart to change and be closer to God again. Anyway, my take is that if I know that my sin is always before me and am always sinful from birth, then how often am I asking God to create in me a pure heart and to renew a steadfast spirit within me?
Do I have the joy of God’s salvation in me or am I feeling sorry for myself for screwing up again? The words from David are fairly deep; going from grief and despair to praise and sacrifice. He made a decision that his sacrifice to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart that God will not reject. Contrite means remorseful, affected by guilt, repentant. That is the type of heart that God desired when King David turned back to him to receive the joy of salvation from God.