Psalms 51: God As the Moral Lawgiver
Psalms 51 is an interesting chapter. When we do something wrong, we automatically understand that we have harmed another person. We understand that we have done perhaps irreparable damage to them physically or emotionally. However, I want you to think about this in a legal sense. This chapter shows why God is indeed the Moral Lawgiver.
Psa 51:2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
Psa 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Psa 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
This is a Psalm written by David, and we know that he did some pretty bad stuff. He was a man that truly desired to follow after God with all of his heart, but he was also a man who was human and made mistakes.
However, despite all of the bad things that he had done, he argued in this passage that he had only sinned against God. This implies that he did not sin against anyone else. That is perplexing though. Think about the story of David and Bathsheba. He basically sent her husband to the front line to be killed so that he could have Bathsheba as his wife. It seems that David was definitely sinning against Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, in this situation.
To explain this a little more clearly, I want you to think about our court case. If I was to steal a car, I would get called into court because I have broken the law of the United States of America. It is irrelevant whether or not the person I took the car from believes that stealing cars is right or wrong. The law of the land dictates whether or not we have sinned in the eyes of the judge.
I hope you can follow that connection. David had sinned against God because God created the law. Uriah probably believed that it was wrong to murder (I would hope). However, David did not sin because Uriah happened to hold that belief. David sinned because he had violated the law of God.
This puts everything into perspective. Let’s think about more “minor” sins. Let’s say I tell you a lie. On the surface, it only seems like you and I are involved. However, that is obviously not the case if we take what David has written here in Psalms to heart. When we sin, we sin against God because we have broken His law.
I don’t know about you, but it makes me think much more seriously about how I act every day. Some things seem so innocent, but if we remember that we are actually offending the God of the entire universe, it doesn’t seem so simple anymore.
I hope that my examples were helpful, and while I know that sin certainly has the potential to damage people on many levels, it is vital to remember that while we may harm other people, we are breaking the law of God rather than some kind of subjective, personal set of beliefs. It is a big deal, and, to end on a more positive note, it shows even more clearly how amazing the gift of salvation is and how much we are indeed pardoned from.