The heading of this Psalm reads, “A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.” I would encourage you to read 2nd Samuel 11 and 12. In these two chapters we have the sad story of David’s sin of adultery with Bathsheba, his murder of her husband Uriah, and of how Nathan the prophet faithfully revealed to David his terrible sins. In Psalm 51 we have David’s prayer of repentance where he confessed his sin and asked for forgiveness and restoration. Before we look at verse 10, let’s get some “snapshots” of David’s earnest and heartfelt prayer. We will be using the New King James Version.

Verse 1 reads, “Have mercy upon me O God….blot out my transgressions.” David knew he deserved to be punished for his sins, but with sincerity he asks God, in mercy, to NOT give him what he deserves.

Verse 2 says, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” David acknowledges the “filth” of his sin, but he knew that God could “cleanse” him from it. We too are promised such a cleansing when we confess our sins. 1st John 1:9 declares, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Verse 4 states, “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight.” These are remarkable words, for had not David sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah? He surely had, but in David’s mind his sin was “first and foremost” against God. Are we conscious of this when we sin?

In verse 5 David goes to the root of the problem, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” Earlier David confessed WHAT HE HAD DONE, but here he acknowledges WHAT HE IS; he is A SINNER. Jesus said in John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh,” which refers to the same truth that David declared. Man is “born in sin” and is thus a sinner, and every sinful act springs from the sinful, fallen nature we inherited from our parents.

Verse 7 reads, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” The word “purge” means “cleanse.” David had asked for cleansing in verse 2, but there it was cleansing from sin by the WORD of God. Here it refers to cleansing by the BLOOD. Hyssop was a plant used for applying the blood of a sacrifice. In Exodus 12:22 the Israelites used it on the night of the Passover and in Leviticus 14:1-7 it was used for the cleansing of the leper. David looked at himself as a “moral leper” and asked God to remove his sins judicially by the cleansing power of the blood.

Now let’s consider verse 10: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” David prays for SPIRITUAL RENEWAL! He knew that only God could give him the right attitude of heart and mind that would enable him to be steadfast and prevent him from falling into sin again.

Verses 11-12 complete his prayer for spiritual restoration, “Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” David longed for fellowship with God, thus he entreats Him to empower him by the Spirit and to RESTORE HIS JOY. David had NOT lost his salvation through his sin, but he had LOST HIS JOY. And so it is with us if we sin. We lose the sense of God’s presence and we lose that precious joy that accompanies salvation. But praise God for His mercy that restores our joy the moment we come to Him as David did, with a sincere heart confessing our sin and seeking full restoration.  (208.9)  (DO)