“For you have no delight in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:16-17
If you are interested in reading Psalm 51 in its entirety, it is helpful in understanding David’s mindset here. The Psalm has only 19 verses , so it is not a long endeavor. We see in this Psalm the heart of David, but also the heart of God, who forgives us freely, no matter where we are or what we may have done.
David wrote this psalm of contrition after his affair with Bathsheba. He was, quite literally, a broken man. He says in verse 8 that his “bones had been broken”, an allusion to the depths of emotional pain and suffering caused by his abject guilt.
This psalm speaks of David’s sin, his contrition, and ultimately, his restoration by a loving God. David knows that, as he stated in verse 10, he needed God to create in him a clean heart, and to renew a right spirit within him. David knew that this was not something that he himself could do. Only God can create a clean heart and right spirit.
David concluded that the things which really please God are not our burnt offerings and our sacrifices. Rather, God would have us to confess our brokenness to Him, so that He can create in us that clean heart and right spirit.
We see the progression here in the psalm: God judges sin, and David begins the psalm acknowledging the sin; forgiveness through the “purging of the hyssop (an allusion to the Passover and forgiveness through Christ’s blood; cleansing; renewal of the Spirit; service to the Lord; worship; and restoration.
All of us come to Christ in the same way- broken sinners asking for forgiveness, which God freely gives. This is followed by joy, power, worship, and service. David sinned greatly and was forgiven greatly. The same forgiveness is ours through Christ.
Prayer: Father, thank you for the lessons you gave to David. You want our relationship renewed with you, and we thank you for loving us enough to want to communicate with us. We ask forgiveness for our sins, and rejoice in your answers. Amen.