Psalm 51:16, 17 - The Sacrifice God Honors.

Psalm 51:16, 17 - The Sacrifice God Honors.

Psalm 51:16, 17 (KJV) For thou desirest not sacrifice; else 
would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.  The 
sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O 
God, thou wilt not despise. 

Psalm 51:16, 17 (NCV) You are not pleased by sacrifices, or I 
would give them. You don't want burnt offerings. The sacrifice God 
wants is a broken spirit. God, you will not reject a heart that is 
broken and sorry for sin. 


Psalm 51: A Prayer of Repentance. A Prayer for Cleansing and 

This is the most famous of the penitential psalms (6, 32, 38, 
51, 102, 130, and 143). It is the most adequate confession of sin in 
the Bible. [Disciple SB] 

A psalm filled with precious lessons. From it we may learn what 
course to follow if we have departed from the Lord. {3BC 1147} 

What a beautiful summation of the Twelve Steps David gives us in 
this psalm. [Life Recovery Devotional SB] 

   This is the fourth of the Penitential Psalms. Like Psalm 32, 
It came out of David's sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11-12) and his 
futile attempt to cover it up. If any chapter in the Bible reveals the 
high cost of sinning, it is this one. 
   Sin hurts the sinner. David's whole being was affected by his 
sin: his eyes (v. 3), mind (v. 6), ears (v. 8), heart (v. 10), spirit 
(v. l0), and mouth (vv. 13-15). He lost fellowship with God (v. 11) 
and the joy of the Lord (v. 12). Are the pleasures of sin worth 
paying this great price? 
   Sin hurts others. Sin can bring tragic consequences to the 
lives of others (James 1:13-16), especially one's family. David's sin 
led to Uriah's death. Bathsheba's baby died. David's lovely daughter 
Tamar was violated by her brother Amnon, who was then killed by 
Absalom, who in turn was slain by Joab. Is a fleeting moment of sinful 
pleasure worth a lifetime of sorrow? 
   Sin hurts God. We hurt ourselves and others when we sin, but 
primarily, our sins are against God (v. 4). Sin makes us dirty (vv. 2, 7). 
Sin is rebellion against God's holy law. If you want to know how 
much sin hurts God, go to Calvary and see His Son dying for the sins 
of the world. God is love, and our selfish sins break His heart. 
   God is merciful and gracious and forgives when we come in 
repentance and faith (1 John 1:9). David did not want "cheap" forgiveness; 
he came with a broken heart. [Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary 
by Warren Wiersbe re Psa.51] 

   Psalm 51 is the result of a tough - but right - decision. 
Here, David confesses his sins in order to restore his broken 
relationship with God. The other psalms in this reading also involve tough 
decisions about how we live and relate to God. The relationship we have 
with God can suffer ups and downs just as our human relationships 
can, and this involves confession and reconciliation.  
   Has sin ever driven a wedge between you and God, making him 
seem distant? David's sins destroyed his ability to enjoy anything, 
even God's salvation (Psalm 51:3-17). David was confronted with his 
adultery with Bathsheba, could not deny it, and sought to repent. In his 
prayer he confessed his sin and cried, "Restore to me the joy of your 
salvation" (51:12).  
   God wants us to be obedient to his Word so that we can have a 
close relationship with him. But when we disobey God and try to cover 
up our sin rather than confess it, we hurt our relationship with 
him, driving the wedge between us and God even further. Confess any 
sin that stands between you and God. You may still have to face the 
consequences, as David did, but God will give back the joy of your 
relationship with him. [The One Year Through the Bible Devotional by Dave 

   This well-known psalm celebrating God's forgiveness was 
written by David after he committed adultery with Bathsheba, and then 
arranged for the death of her husband in battle. The first half of the 
psalm portrays the dark side of our experience. The second half the 
bright newness God offers believers who confess their sins to Him....  
   Aware of the darkness within him, David cried out, "Create in 
me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." 
God, who spoke light into existence, can do a creative work in us and 
make our soiled hearts pure. 
   And when that happens? Then again there is joy in salvation. 
Then again we are able to "teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners 
will turn back to You." 
   From the purified heart pour forth hymns of praise, and from 
the humble acknowledgment of what we are comes something new; a life 
of holiness. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary] 


Outward worship, such as OT sacrifice, is pleasing to God only 
if it expresses the inward spiritual conditions of a broken spirit 
and contrite heart. Formal worship in the absence of these 
conditions accomplishes nothing; however, if it is offered as a result of 
them, God is pleased (v. 19). [Passages Of Life SB] 

Actions not accompanied by a contrite heart are not acceptable 
to God (Isa. 1:12-20). [Nelson SB] 

What pleases God more than sacrifices is a humble heart [NIV SB]

What really delights God is a heart that is open, humble, and 
dependent upon God. [Jamieson, Fausset, And Brown Commentary] 

Contrite and Emptied of Self. Man must be emptied of self before 
he can be, in the fullest sense, a believer in Jesus. When self is 
renounced, then the Lord can make man a new creature. New bottles can 
contain the new wine. The love of Christ will animate the believer with 
new life. In him who looks unto the Author and Finisher of our faith 
the character of Christ will be manifest.  {DA 280.4} [Remnant SOP 

God wants a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart. You 
can never please God by outward actions--no matter how good--if your 
inward heart attitude is not right. Are you sorry for your sin? Do you 
genuinely intend to stop? God is pleased by this kind of humility.  [Life 
Application SB] 

Being Good Isn't Good Enough.  Some people seem to think being 
good, treating people right, giving money to the needy, living by the 
Golden Rule is all that God expects from us.  Do not be misled by them. 
 God's standard is perfection - and none of us are perfect.  Even 
one sin is enough to keep you out of heaven.  That is why the Bible 
says that "There is no one righteous, not even one ... for all have 
sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:10, 23).  Does 
that mean none of us can ever go to heaven?  It would if our 
salvation depended on our "being good".  God has provided us another way!  
That way is Christ who came into the world to take away our sins by 
His death on the cross.  Don't trust your own good works.  Instead, 
trust Christ and what He did for each one of us - His death and 
resurrection.  He alone is our hope, for "Salvation is found in no one else, 
for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we 
must be saved" (Acts 4:12).  There is a song that goes "What can wash 
away my sins?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus".  Open your heart to 
Christ today. [Yokefellows] 

Repentance includes sorrow for sin and a turning away from it. 
We shall not renounce sin unless we see its sinfulness; until we 
turn away from it in heart, there will be no real change in the 
life..... He is the only one that can implant in the heart enmity against 
sin. Every desire for truth and purity, every conviction of our own 
sinfulness, is an evidence that His Spirit is moving upon our hearts...... 

   True repentance occurs when we begin to see sin from God's 
point of view - when we see the way our sin has broken his heart.  
Perhaps the idea that God's heart can be broken by our sin is new to 
you.  In Gen.6:5-6 we are told, "Then the Lord saw that the 
wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the 
thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the Lord was sorry 
that he had made man on the earth, and he was grieved in his heart" 
(NASB).  God was so disappointed with what he saw that there was a grief 
or sorrow in his heart. 
   Jesus also was brokenhearted as he wept over Jerusalem.  "O 
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to 
you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a 
hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" 
(Lk.13:34).  God's heart aches over our sin.  It alienates us from him and 
from our fellow believers. 
   If we want to have victory over sin and turn our lives 
wholeheartedly over to God, then we must see our sin from God's perspective.  
No sermon on hell can ever change a person's heart like seeing the 
grief sin has brought to the heart of the One who created us.  We must 
ask God to show us what our sin does to him.  As we do this and 
begin to understand his great love for us, despite how much we have 
hurt and grieved his heart then we will want to turn away from sin 
and let God give us new desires with new ways of living.  Floyd 
McClung [Time With God SB mod] 

   New "miracle" products emerge all the time, loudly heralded 
for their ability to clean everything from "tough, ground-in dirt" 
to "ring-around-the-collar." But there is still one cleaning job 
they are powerless to accomplish: the cleansing of a dirty heart. 
   Psalm 51 was penned during the darkest hour of David's life. 
For perhaps 20 years, the shepherd-king had ruled in righteous 
grandeur. But overnight his sin with Bathsheba changed all that. First 
adultery, then murder inflicted ugly scars on the king's life. Nathan the 
prophet was sent by God to confront David with the severity of his sin. 
And David responded with a heartfelt prayer for forgiveness: "Wash 
me ... cleanse me.... Create in me a clean heart" (w. 2,10). 
   David knew that forgiveness involves two parties: the 
offender and the offended. Unless the offended party is willing to put 
away the wrong that's been done, fellowship cannot be restored. The 
price of pardon is never cheap, but David knew it must be paid. "The 
sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O 
God, thou wilt not despise" (v. 17). 
   Has your walk with God been interrupted by a dark stain of 
sin? Then get up right now and find a place where you can wash your 
hands. As you do, ask God to wash your heart as well. Confess your 
specific offenses against God, and experience His cleansing--the kind no 
soap can produce (1 John 1:9). 
   If our prayers do not change us, then we do not pray aright. 
[Your Daily Walk SB] 

Isaiah 57:15 (KJV)  For thus saith the high and lofty One that 
inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy 
place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive 
the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite 

Mark 12:33 (KJV)  And to love him with all the heart, and with 
all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the 
strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole 
burnt offerings and sacrifices.