The Treasury of David

Lesson 6 - song of the virgins

God’s Tender Mercies

(Psalm 51) Sin causes us to experience spiritual slumber. For over one year David had written no songs. God sent the prophet, Nathan to awaken him from his slumber of spiritual death. (II Samuel 12:1) Like Adam and Eve in the garden, David was trying to hide from God.

Psalm 51 is probably the greatest song of repentance ever written. It is shocking how fast a man of God can fall from his relationship with God. David was one of the most spiritual men in the Old Testament. His revelation of God and his relationship with God is amazing, but sin quickly brought him down. Thank God when he was confronted with his sin he did not deny it, but quickly confessed and pleaded for mercy. As king, he understood better than anyone else the consequences of his sin and he was worthy of death.

David knew he could only beg for mercy and cried, “Have mercy upon me, O God. According to your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.” (Psalm 51:1) The words “tender mercies” means the womb of Your mercy. The phrase “blot out my transgressions” shows that God keeps records of what we have done. The words “cleanse me from my sin” shows that sin stains us and leaves its mark on us.

1. Transgression

The word transgression means a deliberate act of rebellion. It is a premeditated act of crossing the line and doing something we know to be wrong. No one sins accidentally. A sin is a willful act of aggression against the revealed will of God. This is why we cannot excuse ourselves and say we didn’t know what we were doing was wrong. All sin is an act of our will. Because of our rebellion, we will stand condemned at the judgment seat of God.

2. Iniquity

David realized what he had done was wrong, now he wanted to know why he did it. The Hebrew word “iniquity” means to be twisted or bent. Humanity is broken inside. Something inside us is twisted, and this is the reason why we sin. The apostle Paul said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells, for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” (Romans 7:18) We have an earthly nature called “the flesh” which entices us to sin. “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15)
David was sick of sin as sin. Too many criminals cry more over the punishment of their sin than they cry over the sin which caused the punishment. David wanted to be “washed thoroughly” from his sin. (Psalm 51:2) Our twisted, broken human nature is why we cannot fix our own sin problem.

3. Sin

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Each of us has failed to reach God’s standard of righteousness. This is more than what we have done, it is what we have become. Sin is missing the mark of God’s glory. When we sin we exchange the glory of God for the shame of the devil.

  • The first step of repentance is acknowledging our sin. (Psalm 51:3)
  • The second step is recognizing evil in what we have done. (Psalm 51:4)
  • The third step is realizing we must change from the inside out. (Psalm 51:6)

David realized something was wrong inside and asked God to “create in me a clean heart.” (Psalms 51:10) “Renew a steadfast spirit with me.” “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.” (Psalm 51:12)

Did God answer David’s prayer? The answer is, YES! “Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity.” (Psalm 32:1-2)

Psalm 32 is God’s response to David’s prayer in Psalm 51. The three words David used to describe what God had done for the blessed man are the same three words he used to describe his sin. He had gone from being the condemned man to being the blessed man. God answered his prayer and forgave him his sin. God offers the same forgiveness today to everyone who will turn from their sin and call for His forgiveness. (Romans 10:13)

David’s cry for forgiveness has turned into the joy of forgiveness.

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About the Author: Dr. Dale Yerton

Dr. Yerton serves as an overseer of a network of churches across the world. What began as a network of six church groups representing 500 churches in Mexico has grown into an international ministry. 

He and Evelyn, his wife over fifty years, live in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. They have two daughters: Lora–married to the Rev. Vince Farrell, pastors of Journey Church in Hopkinsville, Kentucky–and Kari—also of Hopkinsville–and are the proud grandparents of Emma and Bennett Farrell.

Dale Yerton