Brokenness and Mercy: The Language of Prayer

January 9, 2022

Brokenness and Mercy

Language of Prayer / Psalm 51


Background to psalm

• David is caught committing adultery and murder

• He is confronted by a prophet Nathaniel and is called out

• This psalm is the response to David’s sin and repentance.

This morning we will find that our brokenness is only a step away from mercy and renewal in Christ.

When we sin it sticks to whatever it touches

Psalm 51:1–2 ESV

Have mercy on me, O God,

according to your steadfast love;

according to your abundant mercy

blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,

and cleanse me from my sin!

• David is trying to figure out how to reconcile His sin with God’s love and grace.

• He is saying two things at once

• 1-God’s abundant mercy is available

• 2-Sin is deeply connected to the person. It is not just behavior, there is something that is deeply inherent in the mans condition

• With these two realities we are kind of stuck in the tension of who will come out victorious. David knows the reality of his situation but also knows the reality of the mercy of God. What wins in the end?

• have you ever been stuck in the middle of the tension between sin and mercy? We know God’s mercy wins in the end but it sometimes feels like sin just won’t let up. Take some time as a group to pray for those in the middle of that tension.

When God acts He acts completely

Psalm 51:7–9 ESV

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;

let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins,

and blot out all my iniquities.

• While the first few verses of the psalm are in tension between two realities, God’s mercy and the stickiness of sin, we see the hope of the psalmist in the mercy of God

• He knows that he cannot remove his own self from his own sin.

• He needs another to do it for him.

• The words “cleanse” “wash” and “blot” are aggressive, are violent. David wants what is on him gone and will go to any lengths to do it.

• God sufficiently does a sufficient job in completing the task at hand.

• We know that by looking at Jesus. He completely went to the Cross for us, giving everything. Telling us it is finished.

• where have you experienced God persevere in your life? or in someone else’s?

When God does something He renews

Psalm 51:10–12 ESV

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from your presence,

and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and uphold me with a willing spirit.

• Up until verse 10 it is about getting David to neutral. Just getting David atoned (bring back to God) for his sin. David had fallen down and the first part of the verse is David asking God to help him to stand again.

• And David gets it right because He understands that renewal and joy are not bought or transacted from God. David isn’t asking God because they are earned or because David deserves them. David asks because God is merciful and because God gives out of His mercy.

Sin keeps us miles from God. But mercy brings us meters from Him.

English Standard Version Chapter 40

28  Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29  He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30  Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31  but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

• tell about a time when God renewed you.

• Where do you need God to renew you?

• Look through the list in psalm 51:10-12. In what ways do you need God to interact with you in that list?

• Pray with one another in your group to see the renewal of the Lord.

Renewal is reality only a step from where you are. But we have to look to Christ to find it. We need to take a step.


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