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whiter-than-snowThis is going to be a great week. Paul Tripp’s devotional on Psalm 51 is packed with insightful questions on this famous psalm. I’m going to use just a few to help us begin to dig into this psalm of David’s repentance. I’m so thankful for the hungry souls on this blog. I don’t want superficial Christianity. I want to be surrounded by believers who want to go deeper, who long for transformed lives, and whose excitement is contagious. That’s you!  We’ll spend a week here, and we can’t cover it all, but the last question allows you to dig, dig, dig. Set your pace. Pray for your sisters. This could be an extremely transforming week.

This is asking very personal questions — so it is only fair I jump in too, so I will be answering as well this week. This is a study that could be done over and over again in order for us to walk a life of repentance and faith.

Prepare your heart with music based on Psalm 51. I love Dennis Jernigan’s version of Mercy Me. I like the rendition on A Woman of Worship of Psalm 51. You probably have one to suggest and we’d love to hear it or watch it.

Bible Study

The background for this psalm is David’s sin with Bathsheba and Uriah and his repentance after Nathan came and painted a word picture for him. If you aren’t familiar with this, the story is in 2 Samuel 11-12. Read it. Then read all of Psalm 51 prayerfully.

1. We often think our problems are on the outside — a difficult boss, tight finances, or a lack of appreciation. Yet the whole of Scripture, including Psalm 51, shows us our problems are on the inside. If we are convinced we are righteous, that we don’t need cleansing and rescuing, that is our biggest problem. It seems amazing that David was so blind to his sin before Nathan came to him, yet we are the same way. Think about a time when you thought the problem was on the outside, but God opened your eyes to see that your attitude, your sin, and your blindness was the real problem.

2. Think about a problem you are facing right now that you might have thought was on the outside. How might it actually be on the inside?

3.  What is our only hope, according to Psalm 51:1? Tim Keller says growth comes from continually walking in repentance and faith on a daily basis. Where, today, is God calling you to walk in repentance and faith? (Let’s pray for one another and share how God has helped us through the week.)

4. Paul Tripp shares about a time when he was on a panel with two Islamic colleagues and a Rabbi. When the subject of what you would say to a family whose loved one committed suicide came up, Tripp said the Gospel shone the brightest. He said, “Suicide doesn’t change the paradigm. …Both the person who has committed suicide and the person who has not, yet has sinned, is dependent on God’s mercy.” Contemplate this: Do you really believe your only hope is in God’s grace? Is your life characterized by thankfulness or complaint?

5. Tim Keller says the distinguishing mark of a Christian is that he is overcome with thankfulness that he is saved. When asked if he is a Christian, he says something like, “Oh — yes — isn’t it wonderful?” Whereas the person who doesn’t really get it becomes indignant, thinking somehow he has earned the right to be called a Christian. Comment.

6. What does Psalm 51:3 teach us about our hearts? Tripp says we are masters at disguise. Anger masquerades as a zeal for truth, gossip as concern, pride as a love for biblical wisdom. We are all too skilled at looking at our own wrong and seeing good. Be still before the Lord praying through Psalm 51:1-3, and Psalm 51:6. Does he give you light in your inner parts?

7. How do you explain verse 4?

8. Take a passage of Psalm 51 and pray through it for yourself. Write your prayer here.

9. There is so much in this psalm, it is hard to do it justice in a week. But contemplate it, chew it, and share your insights here, giving a verse reference, an insight, an application.

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  1. Oh my goodness, you guy!!! I was just looking through all the responses to my comment and it made me want to cry! You are all such wonderful women with such amazing hearts for God and people. Thank you for your encouragement, it made my heart warm to read it. Thank you for letting God work through your words, you have really touched my life. 🙂

  2. Hey, so, I updated my blog and thought I’d share. It’s about you guys. 😉

  3. Liz
    Your blog blessed me. I can relate to your poem. Thanks for sharing it.

    6. My prayer is based on Psalm 51:6

    Behold thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

    Jesus, you are my wisdom. For the rest of my days I will obey your truth You have made it clear to me that what dwells in the hidden part of my soul will be demonstrated by my lifestyle.
    As you look through the window of the deep, deep recess of my soul may you always see yourself in the mirror. Amen.

    7. Final insights.

    I find it not conincendental that Dee chose to study Psalm 51 the week leading up to July Fourth. God yearns for his people to be free of the tyrant of sin. This week I chose, once and for all, to live in perpetual repentance, dependent upon my Creator who has endowed me with the unalienable right to pursue truth, righteouness, joy in Christ, and the glorifying of His Holy Name.
    I will go and sin no more.

    My prayer for our nation comes from Psalm 35:4.

    Lord, turn back those who would have the people of this nation, which you founded to spread the gospel, to forget that the United States was founded upon the principles of your word.
    Begin with your people Lord and turn our hearts back to you. Thank you for your word which warns us of judgment if we don’t repent. May we fall on our knees in prayer and seek your forgiveness.
    As a nation we have grown arrogant and prideful. We love the ease of life more than the liberty you gave us. Instead of acknowledging you as our provider we pat ourselves on the back for how great we think we are. You are indeed a merciful and patient God.
    The devastation in society surrounds us everyday but some of your people would rather hide within the four walls of a church and look out for themselves.
    Lord I confess that I have not been a good soldier. Forgive me for thinking only of myself. I want to hear the words ‘well done’. Thank you for using Dee to teach me and my sisters battle strategies. Your word is my weapon. It’s time for me to get serious and fight on my knees in prayer. YOU ARE OUR ONLY HOPE. Amen.

  4. Liz, Loved your poem and your post! =)

  5. Tammy thank you for your prayer. It reminded me of Dr. Charles Stanley’s call to prayer and repentance for Christians over the next 140 days.

    Talk about a master of disguise…
    6. I ‘ve always been pretty compliant. I realize though it has been in part because I received attention for being “good.” My brother was the opposite receiving the family’s negative attention. Growing up I saw myself as the good child and allowed myself to be put on a pedestal.

    I can tell what I believe I need, because it is right and say the right thing, but I believe my heart has been deceitful in a great many things.

    Obeying the rules + good feedback because of it =
    Me trying to earn everyone’s favor including God’s.

    I have been in a legalistic kick and didn’t know it. It’s difficult to break free of. And it also makes it difficult to see and accept the things God wants me to because of it. Part of me has actually been hostile toward God and His Word. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t fully realize that on my own I’m not good enough for heaven. I knew it in my mind, but I wonder how deeply that truth ever sunk into my heart. Consequently, my heart isn’t free yet.

    A repentant, humble sincere, heart that seeks Jesus is what I need. I’m in the way of seeking Him, so far I’ve kept praying for what He can do for me i.e. how He can make me better. But I don’t know that I’ve truly sought after Him. I need the desire to seek Him.

    I have been incredibly prideful and selfish lately with little love for anyone. I hate how my heart feels right now.

    I’ve repented, in words because I know it’s the right thing to do. Quite honestly, (though I’ve tried to put feeling into it) I don’t believe my heart has been in it. I don’t know how to get it there. I’m the prodigal who needs to come home.

    7 & 8 God please help. Free me from the bondage my heart is in. Help and guide me to seek Jesus. Help me to humble myself and turn from my sin that is ever before You. Please free me from my unbelief and mocking ways.
    Help me to love others and free ,e from my self centeredness. Thank you that You are the God of the impossible!
    Please let your Spirit to flow freely over this nation- from the country to the inner city. You alone know the condition of our hearts. Please free us from the bonds that trap and enslave us. Help us to know the truth and let your Truth set us free. Revive us as, help us to humble ourselves, seek your face, repent and turn from our wicked ways. Give us the Spirit of Love, Power, and a Sound Mind.

  6. I hope everyone had a nice holiday today. I see that I have some catching up to do.

    Questions 4,5. In God’s sight there are no degrees of sin. There are no sins that are more acceptable than others. If I have sinned at all, I am unacceptable before God, therefore I am completely dependent on His mercy. While I am thankful for many things, I think my life is mostly characterized by complaint. What I must do is remember how much I have been forgiven and that there is nothing that I must do but accept the free gift of God’s grace available to me through Christ. My salvation is not dependent on what I do but on what Christ has done and that is so beautiful and freeing. The person that thinks his salvation is earned works hard and feels that he is owed salvation, therefore he feels indignant when questioned. That kind of thinking lends itself to complaint.

    6. Psalm 51:3 teaches that our hearts are rebellious and sinful and that we know it. So we must be quite deceitful even to ourselves. In school I took Psychology where we learned about defense mechanisms. The premise was that we subconsciously build elaborate defenses for our failures. My understanding was that they are normal. For sinful hearts, I guess they are. As I have grown in the Lord I see how deep the deception goes in my own heart. It is amazing how rationally I can defend my own sinful heart and I am the only one who believes it.

    7. Verse 4 explains that when God says I am sinful and need a savior, He is right. My sin is offensive in His sight, even a little bit of it.

      1. A wonderful thread too! I will be thinking about it for a while. The thing that first comes to my mind is that God sees the heart. Pilate was not malicious toward Jesus. He would not have executed Jesus but was between the proverbial ‘rock and hard place’. He did not have the faith to withstand and deliverance for Jesus was not in God’s plan as Jesus states in the verse. The Jews that delivered Him to Pilate had hearts full of pride and lust for power. They were the true murderers of Jesus.

        At the moment I can’t come up with the reference but where Jesus speaks of what is called the ‘unpardonable sin’. I think this is what these Jews were guilty of. The sin of unbelief. For that sin there is no deliverance. Pilate could be forgiven and may well have been.