TODAY’S READING: PSALM 51:14-16
“O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.”Ps 51:15
When my children were young and had been badly behaved, the punishment they hated most was having to explain to their Father what they had done wrong. If they had a choice, they would have preferred to have sat on the naughty step for hours rather than face their Dad, admit they had misbehaved and take ownership for their behaviour. They were embarrassed and ashamed by what they had done wrong. They knew their Dad loved them, cared for them, wanted the best for them, was unlikely to even get angry with them, and yet they would evade his gaze, avoid speaking out what they had done wrong and try and sidestep asking for his forgiveness.
We, too, often behave this way with our Heavenly Father. We find it difficult to admit we have done wrong. We make excuses for our behaviour. We avoid his gaze and when we do come before him, often we ask for forgiveness of our sins in the most general of terms.
Psalm 51:14 says, “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.” David not only asks for forgiveness but for the first time in the psalm, he names his sin clearly. God is omniscient; we cannot hide from him and we cannot hide our sin from him. He knows all the circumstances that have led us to this place. When we strip everything away, all the excuses, all our reasoning, we are left with a clear confession of our sin, calling it by name. “I’ve lied,” not “I’ve not been quite honest.” “I’ve stolen,” not “I’ve used something without asking.”
Paul wrote in Romans 7:18, “Truly, he who has hatred in his heart is just as guilty as the one who killed another person.”
Only when we realise the depth of our sin can we appreciate how amazing God’s gifts of grace and mercy are in His forgiveness of our sins. Our God is the God of salvation. He will deliver us from guilt for the salvation He is the God of, is salvation from sin.
Like David, we can draw close to God in prayer. In faith, we can speak out our sins - call them out, recognising them for what they are. No excuses, laid bare before the God of our Salvation. When we do bring our sins before God in faith, He forgives us. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
In the psalm, David’s response to forgiveness is to declare that he will sing God’s praise and sing of His righteousness. Jesus exchanges our guilt and shame for joy. In Luke 7:36-50 there is a beautiful example of this when the sinful woman anoints Jesus’ feet. In recognising the gravity of her sins, she appreciates the completeness of God’s forgiveness and her response is overflowing love; showering her praises on Him.
• Ask God to search your heart for any sin. Bring this sin before God, repenting of it by name and asking for God’s forgiveness.
• Spend time praising God. Ask God to open your lips and your mouth with praise for Him and pour out your love to Him.