“Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, and done what is evil in Thy sight, so that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, and blameless when Thou dost judge” (Psalm 51:4).
True confession involves a proper understanding of God.
Today we will see a second element of true confession in David’s prayer in Psalm 51: true confession requires not only a proper view of sin, but also a proper view of God. David gives us an understanding of four essential truths about God.
First, God is holy. Affirming God’s omniscience, David declared, “Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom” (v. 6). David knew that because God is holy, He is never satisfied with mere external behavior.
Second, God is powerful. David prayed, “Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness” (vv. 7-8). David believed God had the power to change him—unlike some who think their sinful habits are too strong for Him to overcome.
Third, God will chastise believers for their sins. David pleaded with God, “Let the bones which Thou hast broken rejoice” (v. 8). He alluded to the way shepherds sometimes dealt with wayward sheep. They would take such troublesome sheep and break one of their legs. Then they would set the leg and carry the sheep while the leg healed. Afterwards the sheep would remain close to the shepherd. Through this picturesque metaphor, David described God’s chastisement of him for his sin.
Fourth, God is a forgiving God. “Hide Thy face from my sins,” pleaded David, “and blot out all my iniquities. . . . Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation” (vv. 9, 14). David obviously believed God would forgive his sin or he would never have asked Him for forgiveness. In Isaiah 43:25 God Himself affirmed that He is a forgiving God: “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.”
Does your confession reflect a right view of God?
Suggestions for Prayer
Praise God for His holiness, power, and forgiveness.
For Further Study
Read the prayers of the exiles (Neh. 9:5-38) and Daniel (Dan. 9:4-19). What do those prayers tell you about their views of God?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997.