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Meditations on Psalm LI
The Prophetic character of the Psalmist's Experiences.
pp. 77, 78
Before we enter into the intensely personal character of David's sin, confession,
cleansing and restoration, and by so doing see something of the nature of all sin and of all
phases of salvation by grace, let us look at the Psalm from a somewhat different angle.
Many, if not all the Psalms, have a dual character. For example, David was actually
betrayed and the grief is genuine that causes him to cry:
"Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath
lifted up his heel against me" (Psa. 41: 9),
yet this was a prophecy of the betrayal of Christ by Judas. The reader will think of other
Psalms that fall under the same category as Psa. 41:, such as Psa. 16: and Psa. 22:
Sometimes the prophetic element in the Psalm looks not so much to the Messiah, but to
some experiences of Israel in the latter days.
As we read the closing verses of Psa. 51: which speak of Zion, the building of its
walls, the acceptable offering of sacrifices, we are conscious that there is a transition
from the personal experience of David, to the experiences that shall yet be known by a
repentant and restored Israel. David was guilty, so far as this Psalm is concerned, of
two sins (1) murder and (2) adultery. If we include the testimony of Psa. 32: we
shall have to add one more sin, the sin of obstinate refusal to acknowledge guilt. When
we turn our attention away from David, to David's people, we realize that the selfsame
sins are laid to their charge also.
"Ye . . . . . killed the Prince of Life" (Acts 3: 15).
"The Just One; of Whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers" (Acts 7: 52).
"Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children"
(Matt. 27: 25).
Israel, as a nation, are guilty of murder. They too must acknowledge as David did
"bloodguiltiness" (Psa. 51: 4). Of them it is written:
"I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit
of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced, and
they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son" (Zech. 12: 10).
"Backsliding Israel committed adultery" (Jer. 3: 8).
"Turn O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you" (Jer. 3: 14).
"Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt
treacherously with Me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord" (Jer. 3: 20).