“Blot Out My Transgressions”

Mike Johnson

In II Samuel 11 and 12, we can read the story where David committed adultery with Bathsheba.  To cover up his sin, he had her husband, Uriah, murdered.  He was eventually confronted by Nathan, a prophet of God.  At this point, David admitted he had sinned against the Lord.

It is thought Psalm 51 was written by David after his sin with Bathsheba. In this Psalm, with great sorrow and humility, he asked God (in numerous ways) to forgive him. Note verse 1 which says, “Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions.” NKJV

After asking God for mercy in the first part of the verse, in the second part he asked God to “blot out my transgressions.”  Here we see that David recognized he bore a personal responsibility for his sins, i.e. “blot out MY transgressions.”  There are many excuses David could have made in connection with his sin with Bathsheba. He could have said:

  • “Bathsheba should not have been on the roof top bathing.”
  • “Bathsheba could have said ‘no.”
  • “Someone should have kept it from happening.”
  • Regarding Uriah, “People die in war all of the time; he might have died anyway.”

Instead, rather than making excuses, David simply said, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Today, we bear a personal responsibility— only we can do something about our sins.

In Luke 18:10-14, Jesus presented the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.  Here he said there were two men who went to the temple to  pray.  The Pharisee stood up and prayed, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men — extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.”  Is this Pharisee asking for God’s mercy?  Is he even acknowledging his sin?  In contrast, consider the tax collector. Luke 18:13 says, “And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!'”  The tax collector knew he was guilty of sins; he humbly asked for God’s mercy.

Back to the text, note further that David speaks of his transgressions — plural.  David did not commit just one sin.  He committed adultery, deceit, and murder.  Other sins may also have been involved.  We can see how one sin led to another.  This is not uncommon even today as a person can commit one sin which leads to a second sin to cover up the first and on and on it goes.

When we sin today, we need to have the same penitent attitude as David.