Psalm 51


Psalm 51 is a prayer of repentance written by King David, expressing deep remorse for his affair with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah.


Last week we saw how David sinned and kept stacking more sin on top of it. He was confronted by Nathan and forced to face it. This week, we see David confess his sins in a psalm he wrote shortly after. 


BIG IDEA: To get out of sin, we must turn, agree, ask, and look.


  1. We turn to God (v. 1-2). … David looks to God and appeals to His mercy. David doesn’t appeal for justice, he knows he did wrong. David knows that what he needs is mercy. David didn’t deserve mercy. We don’t deserve it either. Nor do we deserve God’s grace. Mercy is not getting what you deserve and grace is getting something you don’t deserve. By definition, neither can be earned and must be given. Thankfully God grants both mercy and grace to those who ask. David didn’t know it, but many years later Jesus would come and die on a cross as the ultimate sacrifice to blot out our sin. 
  2. We agree with God (v. 3-6). … David knew he sinned of his own accord and that he had sinned against God, a truly evil act. He recognized that God had every right to punish him. As David confesses, he agrees with God. That is what confession is, agreeing with God that we sinned. 
  3. We ask to be restored (v. 7-12). … David can’t restore himself. He knows that and asks God to do it. He asks to be washed clean and to “let the bones you have crushed rejoice.” He recognizes that even though it is excruciating, anything that makes him turn to God is good. He asks for his sins to be covered, for a new heart and spirit. He asks to be restored. And God grants him these requests! His purpose is restored and he worships God. 
  4. We must look to Jesus. … David didn’t know this yet, but we do. We’re all like David, having sinned, and we all need to respond like David did. We have Jesus to look to for our salvation and restoration. 


For Further Study/Resources the Pastor Used to Prepare This Message


  • Great Lives: David: A Man of Passion and Destiny by Chuck Swindoll
  • Preaching the Word Commentary 
  • Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary
  • ESV Expository Commentary
  • New American Commentary