“Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.” Psalm 51:13
If you are anything like me, you know, human, and you struggle with your own flesh, your own selfish desires, just flat out old ugly sin, then take heart, everyone in the entire Bible (minus Jesus) has as well. I find that when I feel I have “blown it” and feel as if God could never use me again, I like to go back to Psalm 51.
Most scholars agree, Psalm 51 was penned by David roughly a year after he sinned in taking Bathsheba for his wife and having Uriah her husband killed (2 Samuel 11). Then of course Nathan, a true prophet, comes on the scene to deliver a stern admonishment and future retribution for David’s willful sin (2 Samuel 12:1-15). Nathan, sent by God (2 Samuel 12:1), was sent to cause David to repent from his sins, to be restored and to yet be used of God. The same goes with us today, of course not saying we should ever put God to the test – God forbid!
If you have been struggling over particular sin(s), and then going through doubt, worry, and despair about being a witness and being a good witness for Christ, remember the word “then” from Psalm 51:13.
But why remember the word “then“?
Because, it ought to be a reminder to us that before we “will teach transgressors your [God’s] ways, and sinners will return”, something else must take place first – like verses 1-12. Below I have only included verses 10-12, but you should read, ponder and pray through the entire chapter.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:10-12
The point I am trying to make [although so much more detail in the totality of Psalm 51] is that if we have sinned, and we will, and yet have a desire to still work for the glory of God and see the lost come to be found, we must first have a genuine repentance about our particular sin. We must have our heart right before ourselves and before God. We must come to a place of brokenness, a place of contrition, a place that surrenders unto God alone; for when we get to this place, we are then brought through God’s restoration and healing hand, and therefore rightly trust Him to be our strength, our joy, and our upholding.
“Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.“
If you desire to learn more about this particular Psalm and to be set free of your besetting sin, this message below from Voddie Baucham, preached at the 2009 True Church Conference in Muscle Shoals, AL, may be a very good help for you. I was present for this powerful message and it was a timeless message for me.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17
Jeremy B. Strang is a Christian, husband, father, and author.
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