Sin and forgiveness in Psalm 51
“The opportunity for forgiveness prevents Jesus’ separation from sinners” (Bock 693). Truly stunning quote isn’t it? Found it in Bock’s first volume of his massive commentary of Luke (Baker) in his discussion of Luke 7:36-50. This story is one of my favorites–seem to remember preaching a sermon on this passage a few years ago! Luke 7:36-50 is a fitting end to a week in Psalm 51, which has also taken me to Psalm 32 and 2 Samuel 11 and 12.
Some interesting things I observed out of Psalm 51.
In verses 1 an2, there are three requests (blot out, wash, cleanse) and three words used for sin.
Of course, these requests for mercy come in verse one based upon God’s love (hesed) and great compassion. Kidner (189) suggests that this request for mercy by David was similar to the words of the prodigal son in Luke 15, “I am no more worthy to be called your son.” Interesting too that these words for sin have the idea of deliberate defiance, rebellion
against his will, a deliberate act of deviating from the wrong path, an intentional act of being on the wrong path because of a willful choice. Kidner says in reference to sin as treason– in verse 4 that David admits that these sins are his own and are inexcusable and suggests we compare this passage to the “self-absorbed outlook in 2 Samuel 11. So, David is asking that God”blot out his incriminating record,” bring ritual cleaness to his life, provide him with amnesty, restore the broken fellowship etc. Lots here to reflect on!