“Psalm 51: A Policeman Takes a Bribe,” Elise Low

Psalm 51

 

Elise Low

 

 

Text

 

[1] Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions

[2] Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

 

[3] For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

 

[4] Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You may be justified in Your words and blameless in Your judgment.

 

[5] Indeed, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother

conceive me.

 

[6] Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being, and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart

 

[7] Purge me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

[8] Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that You have broken rejoice.

[9] Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

[10] Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

[11] Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me.

[12] Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

 

[13] Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will return to You.

 

[14] Deliver me from my bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of Your righteousness.

 

[15] O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise.

[16] For You will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; You will not be pleased with a burnt offering.

[17] The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken spirit and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

 

[18] Do good to Zion in Your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem;

[19] Then will You delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on Your altar.

 

 

Inner Voice

 

[1] Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions

[2] Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

No. No, there’s no way I could have done this. I—I didn’t do it!! No! I’ve never been this kind of person…this is…this is filth. God. GOD. No, I can’t believe this. God. Who am I?  Who the hell have I become?!  Did today really happen?  Is this who I am?!

 

[3] For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

What’s happening to that girl right now? The one that was with him, hiding in his shadow…those big brown eyes staring up at me…God, I didn’t make the connection….I wasn’t sure exactly what I was supposed to “keep quiet” about, but I was scared.  I just wanted to make it home in time for Jenna’s ballet recital…I know what I’ve done. Accepting that bribe…is there anything more disgusting and vile?! I can’t bear these thoughts, I cannot bear the weight of myself. I know what I’ve done wrong. I can’t live with myself, I can’t do this. Can you just take this away from me? I can’t bear to live with myself. I…I can’t…

 

[4] Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so terribly that You may be justified in Your words and blameless in Your judgment.

Your daughters. That’s who they are. In a moment of ignorance, a moment of foolishness—God, I didn’t know what I was doing! I was tricked!! I was deceived! I didn’t realize…I didn’t notice…I didn’t realize the consequences. I didn’t realize she was so young, that she didn’t choose to be a prostitute…not fully, at least. All the makeup and the clothes…I guess it made it look like she was old enough to make her own decisions. God, You know how tight the money’s been around here lately…a little extra cash could help us put food on the table, presents under the Christmas tree… Oh Lord, have mercy. I am disgusted with myself. It’s your daughters I have hurt. Whatever You do to me, I deserve.

[5] Indeed, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

But God, I was born flawed.  I was born broken. And You made me.  You made me this way. You’re my Creator, and yet I was brought forth in iniquity. Broken.  If you made me this way, can’t You save me from this wretchedness? Take some responsibility, God. Have mercy on what You made. Where have You been when I’ve needed You the most?

 

[6] Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being, and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

I’m just being honest with You, God. Can You appreciate that? I feel alone…I’ve been feeling alone. I need to know what to do. Teach me, God. I need Your wisdom to make it through.

 

[7] Purge me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

[8] Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that You have broken rejoice.

[9] Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

[10] Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

[11] Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me.

[12] Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Get rid of all this darkness.  This filth, this ugliness. I have committed the worst of the worst. I have dug my own grave, God. I need to be made new. I can’t go one like this. I need You to do something big. You can do anything, right? I need Your sovereignty to make things right again. I need a new heart. You are so pure, God. So full of love, I know it. God, don’t leave me. Don’t give up on me. Please don’t give up on me yet…

 

[13] Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will return to You.

Won’t You prove Your goodness and mercy by saving me, God? Redeem me, and I will tell a story of redemption.  Heal me, and I’ll go find each of those little girls and set them free. Spare my name, and I’ll spare Yours. I may be wretched, but I’m still Your child; there’s too much to lose by giving up on me.

 

[14] Deliver me from my bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of Your righteousness.

The blood of Your children is on my hands, Father. Wash me to be whiter than snow. I’m telling You, God, save me so that I may advance Your name, so that I can tell everyone of Your mercy. So I can make a difference and turn lives around. Save me…so that my family won’t leave me. So that my wife won’t look at me with disgust.  Save me so I can look my own daughter in eyes again.

 

[15] O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise.

[16] For You will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; You will not be pleased with a burnt offering.

[17] The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken spirit and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

If there were rites I could say, sacrifices I could give, prayers I could pray over and over to rid me of this sin, You know I would do it. But we both know that’s not enough. All I’m left with is crying out to You, God. This is all I have left. Can’t You hear me? This is all I have left to give. You can’t ignore my very being poured out at Your feet, can You?  Surely You hear, surely You will head my cry.

 

[18] Do good to Zion in Your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem;

[19] Then will You delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on Your altar.

You are God. You are holy. You are merciful. You will make me fit for Your Presence again. And I will be new. I will have new ways, holy ways. I will strive to be holy as You are holy. I am here, God. Here I am.