Psalms 32, 38 and 51: How to Get a Clean Heart and Reclaim Your Joy

Yesterday, we witnessed King David falling into Temptation and committing not just adultery, but deceit, lying and murder. For about a YEAR he suffered guilt-ridden and sick until the prophet Nathan, called him out. David described what he went through in these 3 psalms. Sin zaps our joy. Here, we’ll see how to reclaim that joy and get a clean heart in the process. Let’s dig in….

Psalm 32 – A Contemplation

 Oh, what joy for those
    whose disobedience is forgiven,
    whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those
    whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
    whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
When I refused to confess my sin,
    my body wasted away,
    and I groaned all day long.
Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
    My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Interlude

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
    and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
    And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Interlude

Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time,
    that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.
For you are my hiding place;
    you protect me from trouble.
    You surround me with songs of victory. Interlude

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
    I will advise you and watch over you.
Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
    that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”

10 Many sorrows come to the wicked,
    but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.
11 So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him!
    Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

Psalm 32 NLT

  • This was like a sermon set to music, a ballad, an original folk song.
  • When we sin, it is recorded by God. Whether anyone saw you or knows about it. God knows. God sees EVERYTHING.
  • Jesus died taking our sins away — past, present and future. He wipes the slate clean. There is no more ledger.
  • Even if we do sin — and we will sin; we are not perfect, Jesus is — there is no more ledger if we are one with Christ – born againforgiven.
  • I was talking with a born again, believer friend of mine, who also grew up Catholic, but here in Phoenix, AZ. I grew up in NYC. I was taught to go to confession — after making my First Communion, of course — every Saturday, so that we could be “clean enough” to accept Holy Communion on Sunday in Mass. She told me that she was taught to go to confession once a month. Once a month! So, what happens if you die after committing a sin, but before going to confession? That alone, should get you thinking! Confessing to a priest does absolutely NOTHING!

Going on….

Psalm 38 – David Asking God to Remember Him

Apparently, King David got very sick between sinning and repentance for a year…

O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger
    or discipline me in your rage!
Your arrows have struck deep,
    and your blows are crushing me.
Because of your anger, my whole body is sick;
    my health is broken because of my sins.
My guilt overwhelms me—
    it is a burden too heavy to bear.
My wounds fester and stink
    because of my foolish sins.
I am bent over and racked with pain.
    All day long I walk around filled with grief.
A raging fever burns within me,
    and my health is broken.
I am exhausted and completely crushed.
    My groans come from an anguished heart.

You know what I long for, Lord;
    you hear my every sigh.
10 My heart beats wildly, my strength fails,
    and I am going blind.
11 My loved ones and friends stay away, fearing my disease.
    Even my own family stands at a distance.
12 Meanwhile, my enemies lay traps to kill me.
    Those who wish me harm make plans to ruin me.
    All day long they plan their treachery.

13 But I am deaf to all their threats.
    I am silent before them as one who cannot speak.
14 I choose to hear nothing,
    and I make no reply.
15 For I am waiting for you, O Lord.
    You must answer for me, O Lord my God.
16 I prayed, “Don’t let my enemies gloat over me
    or rejoice at my downfall.”

17 I am on the verge of collapse,
    facing constant pain.
18 But I confess my sins;
    I am deeply sorry for what I have done.
19 I have many aggressive enemies;
    they hate me without reason.
20 They repay me evil for good
    and oppose me for pursuing good.
21 Do not abandon me, O Lord.
    Do not stand at a distance, my God.
22 Come quickly to help me,
    O Lord my savior.

Psalm 38 NLT

Now, don’t start blaming God for every single illness or pain that you have. Some are caused by your own mistakes, some by man’s mistakes or evil people. We live in a fallen world. And we were warned that there would be plagues and pestilences in the last days, with more sorrows (birth pains) yet to come. However, sin does eat at our insides. I had to quit a job because it was making me sick. They wanted me to lie to people and I struggled with it.

If you are suffering from illness, pray these psalms to God.

David suffered for a year until Nathan confronted him. After that scene, David wrote this psalm…

Psalm 51

A psalm of David, regarding the time Nathan the prophet came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

Have mercy on me, O God,
    because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
    blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
    Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
    it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
    I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
    and your judgment against me is just.
For I was born a sinner—
    yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
But you desire honesty from the womb,
    teaching me wisdom even there.

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
    you have broken me—
    now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
    Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
    and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and make me willing to obey you.
13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
    and they will return to you.
14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
    then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
15 Unseal my lips, O Lord,
    that my mouth may praise you.

16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
    You do not want a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
    You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
18 Look with favor on Zion and help her;
    rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—
    with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings.
    Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.

Psalm 51 NLT

Confess or Conceal Your Sin

  • Conceal your sin and you suffer. Sin eats at you.
  • Be honest with yourself. Ask God to beat sin out of you, if you have to.
  • Allow the Divine Cleanser — Jesus’ blood — to cleanse your soul.
  • Jesus does that when you believe.

You can’t rid yourself of guilt and shame, not by denying sin or redefining it, or excusing it. Even condoning a sin makes you just as guilty as the ones committing it!

In Ezekiel we read…

18 “When the people return to their homeland, they will remove every trace of their vile images and detestable idols. 19 And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, 20 so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those who long for vile images and detestable idols, I will repay them fully for their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”

Ezekiel 11:18-21 NLT

ALL idolatry is detestable to God. This passage was written for the Israelites as they were coming back from 70 years of Babylonian captivity. We read in the Book of Judges how God laid down the law against idolatry, yet they kept on sinning, which turned into a vicious cycle. Are you in a vicious cycle?

Do You Need a New Heart?

Jesus specializes in heart transplants!

Good News!

Because Jesus died on the cross taking our sin away forever, you can have a clean heart — a tender, responsive heart! All you have to do is…

Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.

  • Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
  • Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 in your life and surrender your life to Him.
  • Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
  • Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift and Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Top image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

God So Loved the World



Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

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