Let’s read Psalms 51:1-5, “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

This psalm was the result of Nathan the prophet confronting David about his guiltiness for lying with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife. This psalm begins with conviction, confession and prayer for forgiveness. David seeks the Lord’s mercy, based on the Lord’s own lovingkindness and tender mercies. What other basis is there to seek mercy from the Lord? Certainly we do not look for forgiveness and mercy based on our own merits. Lamentations 3:22 tells us that “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” How wonderful that we can appeal to the Lord, asking for mercy because He is a merciful God. Ephesians 2:4 lets us know that God is “…rich in mercy…”

In addition to God’s mercy, David asks that the Lord would “blot out” his transgressions, that He would “wash” David and “cleanse” him. 1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” David makes no excuse for his sin as he acknowledges before the Lord that he is guilty and realizes that his sin is glaring before him. In his confession, David tells the Lord that “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight.” We all need to understand that ALL sin is sin against the Lord. When Joseph was seduced by Potiphar’s wife, he said to her, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9)

With all that said, let’s now look at the verse in question. Psalms 51:5, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” With these words, David addresses the deep sense which he had of his depravity. David realized he had a sinful nature that went all the way back to the time he was conceived in his mother’s womb. He is not trying to speak ill of his mother, but he is acknowledging that he was born in sin. To say that he was ‘shapen (brought forth) in iniquity’ shows that David was born in sin. To say that ‘in sin did my mother conceive me’ shows that he was sinful from the very second be began to exist in his mother’s womb.

What David says of himself in verse 5 is true of every man, woman, and child ever born. We were ALL brought forth in iniquity and were ALL in sin at the very moment of conception. The Apostle Paul reminds us of this truth in Romans 3:23 which says, “For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Job brought forth a similar thought in Job 14:4, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” How can we, who are unclean because of sin, produce a clean thing? We cannot! Our parents were born in sin and so we were born in sin. David did not say these things to justify his actions, rather he acknowledges these things to complete his confession of sin. Not only did he sin, he was a sinful person from the beginning. WE ALL ARE!

I encourage you to read and meditate upon the entire chapter. It is a realization of sin. It is repentance, confession, and restoration. This is a good lesson for us to learn and we seek to maintain a good relationship with our Lord. (291.4)