This Psalm is what repentance sounds like when it comes out of a sorrowful soul that has just been taught how horribly helpless we are when we intentionally sin. David’s words here are a result of being convicted of sin by the punishing words of the prophet Nathan. The prophet Nathan delivered God’s judgment against David’s rebellious sexual sin with Bathsheba. Which resulted in David’s cry for mercy and admission of his sinfulness, from birth and lapsing into sin as an adult. It is a popular idea that since David said he was born in sin, that the majority of religious people assume that everyone else is born in sin (Psalm 51:5) since Adam’s sin gave the world a death sentence. However, this Psalm was written by David, and he knew two things about himself. Firstly, his heritage, and secondly, what the law said about his ancestry. Deuteronomy 23:2 clearly cuts off an illegitimate person from the religious life of the nation, including all 10 generations of such a person. One such ‘bastard’ was Perez, born out of Judah & Tamar’s illicit relationship, Gen. 38. The 10th generation from Perez was David’s generation, therefore David was truly “born in sin”, and his whole family, along with his brothers knew it. They are as follows: 1st-Perez, 2nd-Hezron, 3rd-Ram, 4th-Amminadab, 5th-Nahshon, 6th-Salmon, 7th-Boaz, 8th-Obed, 9th-Jesse & 10th-David, see Matthew 1:3-6. Please do not conclude that because we might have an illicit background, it would hinder our relationship with God, that is not true. This law concerned only Jews, another law would counter foreigners from having a part in the religious life of Israel, see the rest of Deut. 23. But as for David, he could not consider himself born into a good relationship with God, according to the Law. However, when he grew to be a young man. God chose to change his position and relationship, when God led Samuel to anoint him to be the future King. If anyone can over-ride, or re-interpret the law, it can only be the author of that Law. So then, David became not only a Psalmist, but also a King, purely by the grace of God. Now after he sinned with Bathsheba, he pled for mercy. Don’t let anyone lead you to believe that people are born in sin, and sinful from birth. The Bible actually teaches the opposite, Children are a blessing and gift from the Lord, Psalm 127:3-5 & Mark 9:36-37 & 10:14. Our sin, is our own personal responsibility, not the inherent responsibility of our parents, or Adam, Romans 5:12-19 & Ezekiel 18:20. The only thing that anyone inherited from Adam is death, not sin itself. Even if a child is born from an incestous relationship, the child hasn’t any sin inherent. Indeed the sins of parents can put a child at risk or in a grave physical disadvantage, but a baby’s soul is pure, see James 1:17-18.
Sinfulness can lead us all to crave God’s mercy for a clean new start. We should fully realize the unique beauty of Christ alone, providing a new creation in every Christian. Which is what David cried out for in Psalm 51:10. The apostle Paul declared this fact in 2nd Corinthians 5:17, and explained it well in Ephesians 2:10. There is no sense in simply asking for a “fix” when we need washing, but there is glory in realizing that God’s cleansing of our soul is seen as a totally new heart being adjoined with the Spirit of Christ, see Psalm 51:11.
Bringing Zion itself into good standing, was reliant on the Nation’s King being in good standing with God. Psalm 51:17-19 is a reminder of how important it is to have real godly virtues in our leadership, even today. Do you pray for our Nation’s leaders to understand what real sacrifice is in God’s eyes? Read 1st Timothy 2:1-4.