The Long Walk Home


Good Father, help me to examine my life according to Your leading and to give my all to You.


Read: PSALM 51

[1] For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. [2] Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. [3] For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. [4] 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. [5] Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. [6] Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. [7] Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. [8] Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. [9] Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. [10] Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. [11] Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. [12] Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.[13] Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. [14] Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. [15] Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. [16] You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. [17] My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. [18] May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. [19] Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar. 



The psalm is given the setting of David’s response to being confronted by the prophet Nathan about his adultery with Bathsheba (see 2 Samuel 12). The shock produces ready repentance in David. Many of us will be familiar with the journey he takes. He moves from full acknowledgement of his sin (vs 1–6) to pleading for forgiveness and cleansing (7–12). The last section of the psalm (13–19) may come as a surprise. How can David, who has fallen so obviously, possibly instruct others? Similarly for us – given our past, given our known mistakes of which we are all too aware, what right have we to instruct anyone on the way they should live? But when the journey of repentance is walked to the end we lose that reticence. We fully place ourselves under the just examination of God and agree with his verdict on us. We can talk openly about our failings and about God’s grace and forgiveness, and we can assure others that it is available to them as well.



“It is the soul, led through its sinfulness to be occupied with God that will truly take the lowest place” (Andrew Murray, Humility).



Lord, may the wonder of Your glory and Your love humble me with joy.


Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider