Repentance 2 – Coming Clean

The aim of this devotional bible study is to reflect on the importance and need for conviction and the confession of sin.


Psalms 51:1-19

A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had sinned sexually with Bathsheba and orchestrated the death of her husband Uriah.

1  Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.  2  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

3  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.  4  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. 5  Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6  Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

7  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9  Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11  Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 13  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. 14  Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.

15  O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16  For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 18  Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; 19  then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.


  1. Read this Psalm of David’s penitence (confession of sin) again, summarizing what he prays in your own words in these sections:
    1. V1-2
    2. V3-6
    3. V7-14
    4. V15-19
  2. Describe David’s emotional state in writing this Psalm. (v3-6)
  3. What does David want from God?
  4. Who was involved in this sin of David? (see the heading of the Psalm before verse 1).
    1. But against whom does David say he sinned? (v4) Why does he write that?
  5. David starts two sentence with “BEHOLD”
    1. He writes “BEHOLD, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (v5) What does he mean to say?
    2. He writes “BEHOLD, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” (v6) What does he mean to say?
    3. With these two lines next to each other and starting both with “BEHOLD”, what do you read from it?
  6. Personal reflection and Prayer

David was moved with the conviction of his personal sin after the prophet Nathan (relaying God’s message) revealed his secret sin. He suffered from guilt and sorrow of heart when he wrote this.

  1. David ran to God and confessed his sin openly, knowing he would find mercy. Do you have that conviction, that God is merciful?
  2. Can you identify with David’s feeling of a weight of sin – either some “transgression” (v3) or a more general “inborn sin” (v5)? Pray your own words to God in the way David did, knowing you will find God “and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15). (look at your summery in Observation 1 above).

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