The Psalms of David



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Something to do


1.    Read about the *Covenant after Psalm 25 in this set of psalms.

2.    If you have a Bible, read Exodus 20:2-17.

3.    Study the difference between:

  a)    being safe at the Last *Judgment because you have obeyed every rule,

  b)    being safe at the Last *Judgment because you believe in Jesus Christ.

Paul tells us that Jews must keep every rule in the Bible. He meant the Ten Commandments, and all the other rules in Exodus, Leviticus and the rest of the Old Testament. If they did, they would be safe at the Last *Judgment. They would go to *heaven. The difficulty was, nobody could keep all the rules! Does this mean nobody will go to *heaven? No! Because there is another way to go to *heaven, a better way. It is to believe in Jesus Christ, and to *trust him. We must:

   ·    ask him to *forgive (take away) our *sins (what we do wrong)

   ·    ask him to give us help to stop *sinning

   ·    ask him to make us new people by putting his *Holy Spirit in us (the *Holy Spirit is another name for God).

A New Man

Psalm 51

Jesus said, "I say this to you. If anyone looks at a woman and wants to have sex with her, he has already had sex with her in his mind". (Matthew 5:28)

Psalm 51


        (This is) for the music leader.
   (It is) a psalm of David.
   (It was) when the *prophet Nathan came to him.
   (It was) after (David) had sex with Bathsheba.

v1      Give *mercy to me, God, because of your kind love.
     Because you have so much love, forget that I did not obey you.

v2      Wash me (from the bad feeling that I have)
       because of the bad thing that I did.
     Make me clean from all my *sin.

v3      Because I know that I did not obey you
       and my *sin is always in front of me.

v4      I have *sinned against you and only you.
     You saw the *evil that I did.
     And so you are right when you talk to me.
     You are not wrong when you say that I am bad.

v5      I am sure that I have done bad things since my birth.
     I have always wanted to *sin since the day that I was born.

v6      But you want me to be good
       and you want to teach me how to live in the proper way.

v7      Make me clean with hyssop and I shall be really clean.
     Wash me and I will be whiter than snow.

v8      I want to hear happy words that give me *joy.
     I want the bones that you broke to *rejoice.

v9      Hide your face from my *sins
       and forget all the bad things that I have done.

v10    *Create a *pure *heart inside me, O God.
     And put a strong spirit in me.

v11    Do not send me away from where you are.
     Do not take your *Holy Spirit from me.

v12    Give me back the *joy that I get when I am safe with you.
     And (give me) a spirit that makes me strong to give help (to people).

v13    I will teach your ways to those people that fight against you.
     Then *sinners will return to you.

v14    Take away from me the bad feeling that I have because I killed someone,
     God, the God that makes me safe.
     (Then) my *tongue will sing of your *righteousness.

v15    *Lord, open my lips,
       then my mouth will say how great you are.

v16    For animal *sacrifice does not bring you pleasure, or I would make it.
     You would not want a whole burnt offering.

v17    The *sacrifices that God wants are a broken spirit
       and a broken *heart that knows that it has *sinned.

. . .


v18    In your pleasure, do good things to Zion.
     Build up the walls of Jerusalem.

v19    Then:
       ·    there will be the right kind of animal *sacrifice
       ·    whole burnt offerings will bring you pleasure
       ·    they will offer bulls on your *altar.

The Story of Psalm 51


This is a famous psalm. David wrote it after he had done something very wrong. He saw a woman bathing and he wanted to have sex with her. But she was the wife of Uriah. Her name was Bathsheba. Uriah was away in the army, so David sent his servants to bring Bathsheba to his *palace. The *palace was the big house where he lived as king. David and Bathsheba had sex together. Later Bathsheba told David that she was going to have his baby. So David brought Uriah home. He tried to make Uriah have sex with Bathsheba so that Uriah would think that the baby was his. When Uriah would not do it, he sent Uriah to a dangerous place in the war with the Philistines. The Philistines killed Uriah. Then David married Bathsheba. When the baby was born it only lived for a week.

Then Nathan the *prophet came and told David that he had done wrong. At first, David did not say that he was sorry. This made him feel very bad. So he wrote Psalm 32. Later he wrote this psalm as well. Psalms 32 and 51 are 2 of the 7 Penitential Psalms that the Church often sings during Lent. Lent is the 40 days before Easter. "Penitential" means being sorry for your *sins, asking God to *forgive them, and promising not to do them again. The other 5 Penitential Psalms are 6, 38, 102, 130 and 143.

We put a space in the psalm between verses 17 and 18. This is because many Christians think that verses 18 and 19 came later. The Jews wrote them when they came back from *exile in Babylon. This *exile was when the King of Babylon took them away from their own country and made them live in Babylon. The *prophets told the Jews this. God let the King of Babylon do it because the Jews had not obeyed God. The Jews wanted a psalm that told God that they had *sinned. They chose Psalm 51. They put two verses on the end that said:

   ·    they wanted the walls of Jerusalem built again (the King of Babylon had destroyed them)

   ·    they wanted the *Temple in Jerusalem built again so that they could *sacrifice animals on its *altar (did they not see that David thought that this was not important?)

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