Conceal Your Face from My Sins: Psalm 51 (part 10)

“Conceal your face from my sins,

and all my iniquities may you wipe clean.”

(Psalm 51:11 {Psalm 51:9 in English Bibles})


Have you ever had to deal with something that is just so disgusting and distasteful that you just had to turn your head for fear that you might get sick, and simply work with your hands?  Somehow, if you turn your head and don’t look at what your hands are doing, you can complete the task before your stomach turns.  This is the picture that David is painting for us in this verse.  It is one of God, who is holy and who hates sin, turning his head so he does not need to look at the sin as he wipes David spiritually clean.  “Look away!”  David cries.  But at the same time, David says, “Clean me!”  For David understands better than most that it is only God who can clean us from our wretched sin.

So often we take such a light view of our own sin.  We think of it as a little stain on an otherwise “ok” person.  How different this is from how God looks on sin.  Sin is active rebellion against God—it is a rejection of his character and of his goodness.  Sin is ugly, wretched, unholy, filthy, and putrid in the sight of God.  It is rotten and disgusting and smells of the same, and sin permeates our whole being.  Even our good works carry with them the stench of our sinful being.  We cannot escape it on our own—it oozes from the pours of our soul with an unhealthy odor.   It is dark and dank and covered with scum—and God is the only one who can take sin away.  David understands that, so he calls God to look away—to turn his face—yet to do his cleansing work.  Oh, how we would profit were we to view sin more like the way David viewed his own sin.

Beloved, when you cling to or hold on to pet sins—sins that you are not just yet ready to get rid of or ones that you don’t think are causing anyone any harm—think of these words of David.  Holding on to sins is like bathing in a cesspool—you will never get clean.  The problem that the unbelieving world has is that they are comfortable in the cesspool and don’t want to get out.  The problem that the Christian has is that they are drawn back to that old cesspool again and again.  Yet, loved ones, you have been cleaned by the blood of Jesus Christ!  How then is it that you would knowingly return to the filth of the sins of this world!  Yet, we do, over and over, don’t we.  Beloved, pray that God would instill in you a disgust for sin and a taste for holiness.  May God turn his head while he washes us clean.

Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling;

Naked, come to thee for dress; helpless, look to thee for grace;

Foul, I to the Fountains fly; wash me, Savior, or I die.

-Augustus Toplady

About preacherwin

A pastor, teacher, and a theologian concerned about the confused state of the church in America and elsewhere...Writing because the Christian should think Biblically.

Posted on April 30, 2008, in Expositions and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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