Psalm 51: Steadfast Love

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Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

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.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
    build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,
    in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Neighborhood Trees #12 | Cypress, TX | January 2023

I know a few highly-reliable people. Steady. Dependable. Their word is their bond. I don’t have to wonder whether they’re making up something. But even the best of us once in a while slip up. We forget. We over-commit. We flake out. We get sick. Worse yet: we sin. We flat out don’t do the good we want. We do the evil we hate. We’re just like St. Paul, who lamented as much (Romans 7:15-19).

David wrote this psalm because he was not steadfast in his obedience. He was not reliable. He sinned. He committed adultery, murder, and false witness. We’re no different in regard to this. None of us is perfectly reliable. We’re not steadfast. We sin. We may not have committed the same kinds of sins as did David, but we’ve all sinned. We fall short of the glory of God.

So David called out to God, seeking his mercy and his steadfast love. And God is steadfast. Reliable. Dependable. Unwavering. Trustworthy. Absolutely constant.

The steadfast love of God has been such a precious thing for me. I too easily waver in my faith. My walk is too often a limp. My good intentions too seldom reach their goal. But the steadfast love of God is always there. He is faithful in every situation. He never disappoints. Rock solid. Immovable. The rock that his higher than me and every storm of life. Solid. Secure. Steadfast.

But it’s not just God’s steadfast wrath against sin, anger over injustice, judgement of our iniquities, demands for perfection in our life that we’re speaking of. It is God’s steadfast love. His kindness and mercy flow from the very being of his nature. For God is love. He has a huge heart for us. He showed it in sending Jesus to redeem us, to buy us back from our imprisonment to sin. He has good will toward us. He delights in our presence with him. He yearns for us to love him too.

We can make excuses for our sins. We can try to deny their true depth and destructive impact. We can pretend they’re not all that bad. We can even say, that God will forgive us since we didn’t mean to, or because it wasn’t all that bad, or that everyone slips up once in a while. But none of that avails before God.

The only thing we have going when we discover we’ve sinned and turn to God in repentance is his character, nature, grace and steadfast love. Thank God for his steadfast love!

  1. Thanks be to God for His Word to us. He doesn’t limit me to “Be Holy because I the
    Lord, your God, Am holy.”Leviticus 19:2 or Psalm 14:3 or Romans 3:12 or Ecclesiastes 7:20. And then He gives me many other reassurances that I often times dismiss or fail to remember.
    Thank you for ongoing reminders of God’s mercy and grace for the sake of His Son, Jesus.

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