Forgiven, Cleansed, and Redeemed
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
- Psalm 51:7-10
As King David wrote this psalm, he was experiencing the pain of his royal failure. Not only had David sinned greatly, but he had been caught in his sin. What David tried to hide behind his royal robes and palace, God revealed through the prophet Nathan. As we see in the words of Psalm 51, David was a broken and contrite man. He saw how far he had fallen short of the glory of God and the position entrusted to him as king of Israel. Throughout Psalm 51, David fully acknowledged his sin before the Lord. He grieved that sin and longed to be brought into a right relationship with the Lord.
King David knew he could not cleanse himself of that sin nor restore his relationship to the Lord. So, David looked to the only one who could cleanse and restore him. David asked the Lord to purge him and to wash him. David wanted every ounce of his sin to be removed from him, from his internal self and from his external self. David entrusted himself to the mercy and steadfast love of the Lord. He believed that God was not only able to cleanse and heal David but willing to cleanse and heal David.
Not only did David wanted to be fully cleansed, but he longed to be redeemed. He asked the Lord to restore his joy and gladness. The desire of David’s heart was that God would meet him in that place of failure and sin, administer the fullness of his grace, then lead David to a new place with him, a place of joy and gladness but also of rejoicing after the pain. Redemption was not just being out of pain but seeing God work in the pain and then through the pain.
King David wanted to be a man after God’s own heart. To do so, he would need the Lord to turn away from his sin and shame and to create a new heart within him, a clean and pure heart. Again, David could never do this for himself. While he was one of the most powerful men of his time, King David was a man completely dependent upon the grace and love of the Lord. David could not cleanse himself of the sin, could not remove the stain of that sin, could not redeem the sin and the consequences of that sin, and could not restore himself. King David looked to the Lord in full humility and with trust in God’s gracious nature.
All throughout the Lenten season, we are invited to make David’s prayer in this psalm our prayer. We are invited to be exposed by the light of Jesus Christ. We are invited to see our sin and shortcomings, to see all our failures to love the Lord and to walk faithfully with him. We are invited to see these things so that we can then do as David did – look to the Lord for forgiveness, for cleansing, and for redemption. Just as God longed to be merciful and gracious towards King David, so he longs to be merciful and gracious to you. Reflection:
Are you receiving this invitation to be exposed so that you can be forgiven, cleansed, and redeemed?