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READING: Psalms 51-54 – David’s Penitance, God’s Goodness, Fools Reject Him  

Psalm 51 is David’s confession to God concerning his sin with Bathsheba. It opens with a plea for mercy, but he takes full responsibility; “I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” He says his sin was against God (he broke three commandments – murder, adultery, and coveting another man’s wife). He admits he knows God wants truth in the heart and asks for wisdom. He asks God to, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” Rather than burnt offerings, “The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” David closes with a plea for God to do good to Zion, a plea for the nation, not for him personally. This psalm is a pattern to follow in our confession of sin. 

Psalm 52 begins, “Why do you boast, O mighty one of mischief done against the godly?” This refers to Doeg, the Servant of Saul who told Saul of David’s being at the Tabernacle, taking the holy bread, and receiving Goliath’s sword. David adds, “God will break you down forever,” and closes, “I will proclaim Your name, for it is good.”  

Psalm 53 is like Psalm 14, with minor differences between them. Each of these begins, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” But God is watching them “To see if there are any who are wise; who seek after God.” The answer is, “They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse; there is no one who does good, no, not one.” The two psalms close, “O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion! When God restores the fortunes of his people, Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.” With our minds, we know there is a God; that awareness does not always fill our hearts. Paul quotes this Psalm in Romans 3:10-12 as he builds a case that all sin and cannot be justified by law but must trust “the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:22-23). 

Psalm 54 is also from the time David was fleeing from Saul when the Ziphites told Saul David was hiding in their wilderness area. He prays for vindication. “Save me, O God, and vindicate me by Your might… The insolent have risen against me… But surely, God is my helper… He will repay my enemies for their evil… He has delivered me from every trouble.” Note that David is trusting God to handle his problems with his enemies. He is not taking vengeance upon them himself but prays that the LORD will vindicate him, and that will be his triumph. 

These four Psalms show David’s heart and his trust in God. 

How much do I trust God deep in my heart? 



O Father in heaven, I have sins I need to confess to You as transparently as did David. May I learn to pray as he prayed in confession, pleading for mercy at Your throne, begging for a right spirit. This is my prayer in Jesus’ name, AMEN!      

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself)      

Father, God, again I pray that each who reads this will learn from David how to pray. Let us leave trite, insipid prayers aside, and pray in a way that wrestles with God as did Jacob, Moses, and David. This is my prayer, for all who read this and for myself, in the Holy Name of Jesus, I pray, AMEN! 

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