We need to follow the example of David we read about in Psalm 51: Recognise your sins and ask God for forgiveness.
James 1:14-15 explains the path and direction in which sin moves: “… but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
David’s life is an excellent example of this. We read about David’s sin with Bathsheba and Uriah in 1 Kings 15:5: “For David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.” David’s sin was a spiral from dark to even darker: It starts with him coveting his neighbour’s wife, which leads to him committing adultery, and eventually it leads to murder. You can read more about David’s story in 2 Samuel 11, which is also the background to Psalm 51. Our Bible study will be focussing on Psalm 51.
1. What is normally our first reaction when we realise that we sinned? Read Genesis 3:8.
2. What happens if you try to cover sin with more sin?
3. How, and why, does a believer become aware of his sin?
4. How did David realise that the Lord knows all his sins? How does the Lord bring you to the realisation of your sin?
5. What is the obedient response of a believer to sin in his life?
6. Read verse 4. What does it mean that David has sinned against the Lord alone?
7. What was the Lord’s just verdict? Read 2 Samuel 12:10-12.
8. What does David mean in verse 5 when he says that he was already guilty when he was born, sinful even when his mother was pregnant?
9. How can I know how the Lord wants me to live? Look at verse 6.
David’s prayer for a deep cleansing within
David prays that God will cleanse him from his sin. Cleansing with hyssop alludes to the ceremonial cleansing, such as the cleansing of a leper, or those who have touched a corpse. After being cleansed, a person may join the people again. David prayed that the Lord will not only clean him ceremonially, but give him a deep cleansing within, where people’s hands cannot wash; where the consequences of sin cannot be taken away by people; where God’s hand rests heavily on him.
10. How do you feel when you hide your sin? Why? See verse 8.
Confessing your sins
Nathan had already reassured David at the first visit that his sin was forgiven and that he would not die, and yet praying for forgiveness was part of his prayer (2 Samuel 12:13). David realises that it is about recognising and confessing his guilt before God. Don’t keep the remorse of your sin to yourself, but rather open it up to God.
11. Why does David pray in this psalm that the Lord should not take away his Holy Spirit from him? What does the Holy Spirit do?
12. What does a sacrifice of humiliation look like?
13. How should we feel about our salvation in Christ? See verse 12.
14. What does your commitment to the Lord look like? See verse 14.
15. Why is it important that God must give us the words with which we should praise Him?
In these Bible verses in 1 Samuel and Psalms we read about David’s spiral into sin. However, it is David’s acknowledgment of his sins and his eventual repentance for what he did that is important for us. Pray that you may know all your sins. We can only ask God’s forgiveness for our sins after we acknowledge our deeds as sin and repent. You must pray that you will have great remorse and openly confess your sin to God. Pray that the Lord will forgive all your sin.