Where does one turn when they have sinned? Typically, when we sin, our first reaction is to run from God and to run from our Christian friends. We hide behind things when they come calling like Adam and Eve did in the garden. How did David overcome the great sense of guilt and shame that his sin had produced? How are we to find peace when we have sinned against God and hurt others?
So far in this psalm we have seen David cry out for mercy. He does this because David knows of God's steadfast love; therefore, he seeks God's abundant mercy. We have seen David confess his sins and display the fact that he understands that the righteous judgment of God rests upon him because of his iniquity. David knows that he is a sinner in the very essence of his nature and he needs God to teach him wisdom in the secret heart.
Now as we come to this section of the passage I find that I am overwhelmed by the that David shows us that it is only God who can heal such a person. It is only God who can cleanse such a one. Only God can restore joy and peace to a sinner. David comes to God in this moment and begins to plead with Him to do what no one else can do. No therapist can restore such a one deep within their heart. No priest can forgive another man's sins and absolve him from the judgment. No, David must come to God himself and seek such a mercy.
Let me write out this section of the text and I think you will immediately see what I mean.
(You) Purge me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
(You) wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
(Lord) Let me hear joy and gladness;
(Lord) let the bones you have broken rejoice.
(You) Hide your face from my sins,
(You) blot out all of my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and (You) renew a right spirit within me.
(Lord) Cast me not away from your presence,
and (Lord) take not your Holy Spirit from me.
(You) Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and You uphold me with a willing spirit.
When we fall into sin and iniquity the results can lead us to utter ruin. We sever relationships, forfeit trust and fellowship, fall under the judgment of God, lose joy and peace etc. When we finally see our actions for the sin that it is we come to God and plead for mercy; but how can one recover from such things? David shows us with these words. He pleads and prays that God would do all of it. He is the only one who can. The Lord can redeem a person from the sin of adultery. He can heal a person who has been given over to sin and its effects. The Lord can cleanse the most stained heart and soul.
There are hurting people all around us. And if we do not realize that it is the Lord who can do such things as we repent and humble ourselves, we will too quickly say to a hurting soul, "Get over it already!" Or we might tell them that it is time to move on. Time can dull the pain but God can heal it. Time can create some separation from the pain but God saves us and teaches us through it. Then we can say as David does in verse thirteen, "Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you."
Let me take a moment and personalize this even more. We New Testament Christians can see far more than David could when he wrote this psalm. Yes, he looked with eyes of faith for the things God but we have the reality seen in Christ Jesus. Or as Hebrews 2: 9 says, "But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone." Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
We also see in Hebrews that Jesus is our great High Priest. "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need." (4:15-16)
Then in chapter nine we read these words, "For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God." (v.13-14)
So in Psalm 51 David calls out to God to accomplish all of these amazing things and now through Christ we see just how God has done this for the believer. The Lord has done these things through the Lord Jesus Christ. So my friend, if you are needing to be washed, cleansed and healed then come to Christ by faith today.