Great Chapters: Psalm 51

Psalm 51 is David’s prayer for forgiveness.

  1. What does verse 1 reveal about the occasion of this Psalm?  If needed review the circumstances of David’s sin in 2 Samuel 11-12.
  2. In this Psalm we see David’s deep personal feelings, but we also know that the chapter is inspired by God.  What use can we make of this chapter? Why do you think God preserved it for us?
  3. In verse 3-5, on what basis does David appeal to God for cleansing from sin?  What does he say about God, and what does he say about himself?
  4. How do verses 7-12 help us see what David was feeling when he was guilty of his sins.
  5. Once restored to God what does David desire to do? 13-15. Why are these things done AFTER restoration?
  6. According to verse 6, 16, and 17 what does God really want from people?
  7. What does David ask God to do at the end of Psalm?

Answer any of these questions, or ask others, using the comments section below.

We will discuss Psalm 51 Wednesday night at 7 pm on Facebook Live and Zoom.  Everyone is invited to join us!

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9 thoughts on “Great Chapters: Psalm 51

  1. The end of this Psalm makes me think of God’s promise to Moses, that if the nation was obedient there were blessings and disobedience would bring curses. I hear David recognizing his sin could impact the safety of the nation and his plea for forgiveness is hope that the blessings promised to Israel could be restored.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Some thoughts that came to mind, and I may be over reaching these final verses’ actual intent. David was familiar with the Mosaic covenant, deeply believed what God promised (the blessings and the curse) and he loved Israel as God did. I think the intent of these closing verses recognizes that this covenant was very much alive in David’s heart as well as Israel’s history and was very much at the core of the horror of what he had done. He had already lived through God’s rejection of Saul. As it relates to our lives today, it’s necessary that we take seriously God’s new covenant. The faith David demonstrated in God’s promise, God’s mercy and His ability to forgive and David’s love for God’s people are attributes as important today as they were then.

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  2. This is one of my favorite chapters in the bible. Last year I was going to commit this chapter to memory. This did not happen but now that you have brought it back up I might try to do that again. I considered using it as a prayer when I felt far from God or discouraged with myself. I love the example of David’s heart after he has sinned and his deep concern with reconnecting with God right away.

    I have often thought about men of the bible and how there is little example of how they repented, what was going on in their heart at the time. Paul just floors me. I think if I had persecuted Jesus’ followers and done so much against God, well I’m not sure I would ever be able to go on living with myself. We don’t see much of how he feels about himself like we do in this chapter with David but we do see him do what we are all supposed to do, ask God for forgiveness and do better. I’m sure both men were very embarrassed by their own sins, but they asked for forgiveness, moved on and did not give up.

    I just love to see David, a great man of God, a “man after God’s own heart”, not be perfect. I’m not perfect. He is a great example to me of how I want keep that connection with God.

    Thank you for using this chapter!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. David is very relatable with his words in Psalms. You can feel the anguish he feels in Psalms 51 from his sin. He asks God to cleanse his heart and restore the joy of salvation. What a terrible feeling to have when you have lost the joy of salvation.

    Something I never noticed in this passage is that David almost poses an if, then statement in these verses (12-13). If you restore me then I will teach the transgressors. I’m not sure if David is trying to bargain with God here or if he is saying due to his gratitude he will teach others. I am inclined to believe the latter view given the rest of the passage. Psalms 51 seems as though David is praying to be restored and telling God everything he will do once he is restored.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I should include the rest of chapter in the if(when), then statement I was thinking of here. David is saying if I am restored then I will teach the transgressors, sing, praise God, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. That is an interesting observation. I dont look at it so much as “if you…then I will”, as “when you, then I will…”; which might be a little different. Certainly not bargaining with God. Maybe it is more like a vow….David promises to do this when God forgives him.

      Liked by 1 person

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