The Church of Divine Guidance Sunday Morning Adult Bible Study Group studying the book Psalms: A Guide to Prayer and Praise by Ron Klug. The Psalms are some of the most widely read and best-loved portions of the Bible. For thousands of years these songs of faith have spoken to the hearts and minds of people around the world. The Psalms are songs–music our spirits sing to the Creator. They are poems–full of vibrant imagery and strong rhythms. And they are prayers–our deepest emotions expressed to the Lord who feels with us. Most importantly, the Psalms are God’s Word to us, revealing the truth about him and our relationship with him. Study along with us by getting a copy of the book by clicking this LINK or the image of the book at the end of the study notes.
If you can remember back to our first session we said that there several different styles of Psalms.
- hymns of praise. Our first three sessions, Psalms 8, 19, and 33 were hymns of praise.
- laments (a cry of pain or struggle from an individual or group) Psalms 22, 42, and 43 which we studied in the last two sessions were laments.
- penitential psalms (a cry of remorse, seeking forgiveness)
- songs of thanksgiving
- songs of trustwisdom psalms (expressing truths about life)
The Psalm that we are going to talk about today, Psalm 51 is a penitential Psalm meaning it is a cry of remorse, seeking forgiveness.
1. What is your understanding or definition of sin?
Dictionary - An immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law
Sin is described in the Bible as
- transgression of the law of God
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.
1 John 3:4 NIV
- rebellion against God
Remember this and never forget how you aroused the anger of the Lord your God in the wilderness. From the day you left Egypt until you arrived here, you have been rebellious against the Lord .
Deuteronomy 9:7 NIV
Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”
Joshua 1:18 NIV
In this Psalm David freely admitted his sin and asked God for mercy and forgiveness. The occasion of David's remorse is his adultery with Bathsheba and the conspiracy in the death of her husband Uriah, which for all intents and purposes was murder.
David, king of Israel, wrote this psalm after being confronted by the prophet Nathan about his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband.
The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.” David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despise me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’ “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’ ” Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord .” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord , the son born to you will die.”
2 Samuel 12:1-14 NIV
READ PSALM 51:1–12
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 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. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51:1-12 NIV
Psalm 51:1-12 NIV
2. What four things did the psalmist ask for in verses 1 and 2?
● Blot out his transgressions
● Wash his iniquity
● Cleanse him
What did he admit about himself?
He admitted that he had blown it and sinned. He was a sinner.
3. What was his attitude toward his wrongdoing?
He admitted it and he couldn't forget it. He knew that while his sin affected others that it was first of all a transgression against God’s laws and was rebellion against God. He also knew that whatever punishment that God wished to execute was appropriate.
What deep conviction did he express in verse 5?
He knew that he had a sin nature from birth.
4. What gave the psalmist the courage to come before God and ask for forgiveness and cleansing?
Although he was sinful God still wanted him to be faithful and even before he was born God taught him wisdom.
5. List the imperatives or requests in verses 7–12.
● Blot out
What was the writer asking God to do for him in each of these prayers?
He was asking God to restore him to a place with God that he had before this transgression.
6. How do you understand verse 8?
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Psalm 51:8 NIV
Psalm 51:8 NIV
He wanted to know that God had forgiven him. God’s voice of forgiveness. That is, the voice of forgiveness, causing joy and rejoicing. What he wished to hear was the kind voice of God in pronouncing his pardon; not the voice of anger and condemnation. God now condemned him. The law condemned him. His own conscience condemned him. The result was anguish and sorrow. The burden was great and overpowering - such as to crush him; to break all his "bones." He longed to hear the sweet voice of forgiveness, by which he might have peace, and by which his soul might be made to rejoice. - From Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
Why does salvation bring joy (verses 8,12)?
Because you know that you have been forgiven.
7. Looking back over verses 6–12, when we ask God to deal with our sin, what negative actions should we ask for?
What positive actions?
● More kingdom responsibility
READ PSALM 51:13–19.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
Psalm 51:13-19 NIV
Psalm 51:13-19 NIV
8. How did the psalmist respond in verses 13–15?
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.
Psalm 51:13-15 NIV
Psalm 51:13-15 NIV
When God cleanses and restores he will testify of God’s goodness praising Him.
How can a forgiven sinner effectively teach other sinners God’s ways?
By giving your own life’s story
9. What kinds of sacrifices please God?
He doesn't want a show, He wants your heart.
Isaiah 1:11-15 NIV “The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the Lord . “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!
He didn’t say they weren’t bringing their sacrifices and offerings, in fact they were bringing them. They were observing the festivals and feasts that God directed them to keep but because of their lifestyle He didn’t want to have anything to do with their worship.
What is the right attitude in which to make them?
Isaiah 1:16-17 NIV Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings
Micah 6:8 NIV He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
10. Are you personally more in danger of underestimating your sins or overestimating them?
I am in more danger of underestimating them.
There are things that I have done and some I still do that I try to justify and I know that it's rebellion. I have to constantly ask forgiveness and deliverance to the point sometime I really wonder if I really want deliverance. Father please forgive me for that kind of thinking because it’s dangerous. Please deliver me.
11. Discuss the statement: “Purity as well as pardon is the desire of the true penitent.”
Asking forgiveness is great but better yet is, after asking for and receiving forgiveness, is to repent. When you repent you have sincere regret and remorse. It means to change your mind and go in a different direction.
The Greek word for “pure” is katharos. It means to be “clean, blameless, unstained from guilt.”
Pray that God will continue to show you the sin in your life and give you grace to deal with it.