Tuesday, August 9, 2011
You, Only You, Have I Wronged - Psalm 51
Psalm 51 is used heavily in the liturgy, and given King David's awful spiral of lust, adultery, and murder, this Psalm gives us a vivid setting (2 Samuel 11-12) to contemplate how a man so great and after God's own heart went so wrong.
First off, notice how David quickly admits his multi-faceted wrong. He doesn't say, "Change my circumstances." He says, "Change me." He says this because his evil self, the natural self which doesn't have God's renewing Spirit, is conceived in sin and is rotten to the core.
The verb used in 51:10 for "create" is that same verb used in Creation. It's something new and majestic that only God can do. Only God can truly deal with evil and turn us from our ways, and he accomplished that when Jesus the Messiah lived, died, and rose to become the saving king of the world.
One other thing I should mention is the ending. Many have a tendency to see this as a sort of tack-on or afterthought, but I think it's essential to the whole Psalm. Jerusalem was the city where God chose to have his name dwell and his temple be founded. The temple was where heaven and earth met and where God's Instruction (Torah) and saving power was found. David's restoration is intricately linked to the temple's restoration. And it's only because the one greater than even the temple, Yahweh in the flesh, Jesus, accomplished his purpose to fulfill Israel's destiny of restoring, redeeming, and renewing all creation are we forgiven and made heirs and rulers over a kingdom from heaven. How cool is that?