Something I Noticed about Psalm 51
Psalm 51 may well be the most known chapter in all of the OT, and possibly the Bible. Meaning that most people who read this blog are familiar with Psalm 51 and have probably read it multiple times. If you have not, stop reading this and GO read Psalm 51, your soul will be nourished.
I have read through this psalm hundreds of times in personal devotion, worship, or in church. I am pretty familiar with the psalm, I have studied the historical context behind why it was written, and the purpose it served after it was written. I am not bragging I am just trying to emphasize the fact that I am very familiar with the psalm.
About a week ago I opened to the psalm and begun my quiet time, before I read any familiar passage I usually ask God to open my eyes and to unclog my ears to anything that He is trying to get across to me. Let’s take a look at this passage.
Psalm 51:12-13 (CSB)
12. Restore the joy of your salvation to me,
and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit.
13. Then I will teach the rebellious your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
Verse 12 has always been my favorite of the chapter, and has always been my prayer when I feel “lost” or discouraged. However for some reason I just STOPPED at verse 12. Verse 12 hit me hard and so I prayed through it. Through this revelation I realized how self centered my prayers had been. (Now it is not sinful to ask the Lord to restore the Joy of His salvation to you, but it was more of my heart behind the prayer).
Now I am not one to ONLY draw my theology out of the Psalms mainly because of the genre of literature that it was written in. However Psalms does offer some theological insight and I think in this case it is ok. You see king David was the head of a nation, the sole earthly authority for the nation, and if he strayed from the Lord, then it would be natural for the rest of the nation to follow suit. That is why this part of the prayer historically and theologically MAKES SENSE. King David was yes concerned for his own state with the Lord, we know this because he begs the Lord not to remove the spirit from him, however David does not end there. The purpose for the JOY of salvation that David found in Christ was so that the rebellious people would SEE his ways, and RETURN TO THE LORD.
David desperately needed God’s forgiveness, and the Lord was faithful to forgive him. However David did NOT end there, he pleaded for the Joy of the Lord to return to him SO THAT his people would return from their rebellious ways.
This truth was not reflected in my own heart, I would ask the Lord to restore the joy of His salvation and end it there, with no care in the world how it would affect others. Today I change my prayer, today I as that the LORD would restore the joy of His salvation to me so that people would see Christ through me and return from their rebellious ways. I encourage you to do the same.