04_Psalm 51, The Penitential Psalms – Premium Content

Week 4 | Psalm 51 [50]


To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

51 Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy steadfast love;
    according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,
    and done that which is evil in thy sight,
so that thou art justified in thy sentence
    and blameless in thy judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward being;
    therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Fill me with joy and gladness;
    let the bones which thou hast broken rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence,
    and take not thy holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of thy salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors thy ways,
    and sinners will return to thee.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    thou God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of thy deliverance.

15 O Lord, open thou my lips,
    and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
16 For thou hast no delight in sacrifice;
    were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased.
17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

18 Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure;
    rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
19 then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices,
    in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
    then bulls will be offered on thy altar.

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Listen (Receive the Word via audio or video.)

Observe (Connect the passage to your life and recent events.)

Pharisaism is characterized by a hypocritical observance and sanctimoniousness multiplication of spiritual practices for their own sake in order to be seen and recognized for them (by God and other people), without regard for the spirit of the law. Pharisees pray for others and “at” God from the perch of moral and spiritual superiority. Often they air their “concerns” about the spiritual welfare of others with an air of holiness, using carefully crafted spiritual language, in order to justify their views and positions. Pharisees are stubborn and often viciously proud in their views and positions, so Jesus reserved His sharpest, most direct rebukes for the Pharisees who had no regard for the merciful love of God or the spirit of the law in their dealings with others. Are you guilty of Pharisaical pride? What does the Holy Spirit want you to do?   

Verbalize (Pray about your thoughts and emotions.)

What do you want to say to Him about that? Remembering that He loves you and that you are in His presence, talk to God about the particulars of your O – Observe step. You may want to write your reflections in your LOVE the Word® journal. Or, get a free journal page and guide in the right-hand margin.

Entrust (May it be done to me according to your word!)

Have mercy on me, O God; wash me thoroughly from my iniquity! Amen +

What we discussed | Show Notes


Minutes 00:12:00 – Verses 1-5: mercy and the verb “to know”

Minutes 12:01-24:00 –  Verses 5-8: guilt and false guilt and Pharisaism

Minutes 24:01-36:00 – The three words for “sin” used in the psalm; Original Sin and “Total Depravity” 

Minutes 36:01-48:00 – St. Gregory’s “divine therapy”; addition of the last four verses of the psalm

Other Resources

Create in Me a Clean Heart: 10 Minutes a Day with the Penitential Psalms, book by Sarah Christmyer

A “Spiritual Cleanse” with the Penitential Psalms

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