Previously we began looking at David’s confession in Psalm 51 (read part one and part two). After being confronted by the prophet Nathan concerning his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah, David realizes the wickedness in his life and writes out this confession and plea. In today’s study we are going to look at being born in sin and the need to be purged from it.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
David begins by declaring that he even from birth he was twisted and full of iniquity (same word used in verse two to mean perversity and depravity). He goes on to say that even from his conception he had a life of sin.
But, you argue, he was just a baby. How could his life be full of perverseness, depravity, and sin?
Simple, it is the very nature we are born with – Paul calls it the “sin nature” or our “flesh.” Let me distinguish between sin (nature) and sins (deed). When I go out and tell a lie, it is a sin. I am committing an act or deed which the Bible calls sin. But the reason I committed the deed is because of my nature and propensity is sin.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, it ushered in not just a foul crime but more devastating, it produced a nature within our hearts for sin. You don’t get a choice of whether or not you want it, you are born with this nature. You can see this lived out in the lives of two-year olds. A two-year old is concerned with one thing: “me.” She gets angry when she doesn’t get her way, she yells and hits when someone takes her toy. Why? Because the perverse depravity we are born with is telling her: “It’s all about you.” When this sin nature is not taken to the Cross, it is the driving force behind all the deeds of sin (lies, lust, gossip, murder, pride, etc).
David sees his dilemma and declares: “Oh God! Even from my mother’s womb have I been plagued with this nature of sin and this propensity to think and live in wickedness.”
Truth in the Inward Parts
David contrasts his life (full of depravity and sin) with the purposes of God. He writes that God desires (meaning God delights, takes pleasure in, and is pleased with) truth in the inward parts.
“Inward parts” is only used two times in the Old Testament (the other is in Job 38.36) and is often understood as the “reigns” or “kidneys” of one’s body. It is the inner regions, the hidden recesses, the inward parts of one’s life. The Hebrew word comes from the word that means “bow shot.” Think of it like this, I take a bow and arrow and shoot it into your body (a painful thought I know). The arrow tip goes into the deep, hidden recesses of your life. It penetrates the exterior and goes into the inner regions of your body.
This is the very thing God desires Truth to do to you – penetrate your exterior and plunge itself deep into the internal-hidden parts of your life. So much so that it could be said that truth is now the “kidneys” of your life – that part of your body that cleanses, purifies, and removes all toxin and disease from you. Jesus IS the Truth. Would you allow Him to plunge Himself deep within your life and be the very thing that determines right and wrong, cleansing and purifying your life from all toxin, lie, sin, and anything else that is not of His nature?
Wisdom in the Hidden Places
The word used here for wisdom is the same word used over and over again in the book of Proverbs. Again this wisdom points to the Person of Jesus! In the secret parts of your life, would you allow God to infuse His wisdom – literally Himself – and be the only thing in your secret place?
David says that God will make you to know wisdom. The word “know” is the same word for intimacy and relationship used in the Greek New Testament (word: ginosko). It is not saying that you have some extra facts and information (wisdom); rather it is that you would be intimately acquainted and in relationship with Wisdom (a person … Jesus!).
Purging and Cleansing
Knowing his life is full of sin, depravity, and perverseness (see study on Psalm 51.1-2), David pleads that God would purge (purify, cleanse, forgive) him with hyssop. Hyssop was plant used during that time for medicinal and religious purposes. For example hyssop is mentioned five times in Leviticus 14 to be used for dipping in blood to be sprinkled for a cleansing/purification ceremony.
David is saying: “Dear God, take hyssop, dip it in the blood and sprinkle my life with it so that I might be forgiven, made pure, and clean. Wash me,” David continues, “and I will be whiter than snow.”
“Wash me” is the same word used in verse two for vigorous scrubbing. This is not a sponge bath but taking steel-wool and scrubbing until there is not a speck of filth remaining.
Do you see this is the very thing Jesus has done? In His death upon the cross, it is as if God took this giant hyssop branch, plunged it into the blood of Christ, and sprinkled it once and for all upon our lives. We are covered with His blood! We are forgiven, purified, and made clean. God has taken his steel-wool brush and has gone into the deep recesses of our soul and scrubbed out every speck of sin and corruption, perverseness and depravity. Through Jesus we can now be whiter than snow (the brightest and whitest thing David knew anything about). While it is true this sprinkling, purifying, scrubbing has taken place in the past upon the Cross, we must reckon it so (Romans 6.11 ff) in our lives today. We too, like David, must come before God in humility and cry out: “I am full of sin, not only was I born in it but I have lived out of that nature for all my life! You oh God must come and purge me of every drop of sin, scrub me clean, and fill me with Your life and nature!” We must allow for the grace of God to become experience and actuality in our life, not mere theory and verbiage.
Read the other Bible Studies in this series: