Occasionally I will hear people make comments referencing “the God of the old testament,” or “the God of the new testament.” Statements like these stem from the perception that God behaved differently, with different expectations in the old testament than he did in the new. Often the connotation is that the “old testament God” was an angry and vengeful God, while the “new testament God” is kind, forgiving and loving God. There are many examples to counter such ideas, one has but to look at the repeated cycles of forgiveness and redemption in the old testament or the ultimate punishment outlined in Revelation to see that God is kind, capable of righteous anger, forgiving, able and willing to exact vengeance, and loving. Today I want to look at Psalm 51:10-15 and compare the way David speaks of God, his interactions with us and what he expects of us, with examples of the same principles found in the new testament. I should point out that this is in no way an exhaustive listing of verses on each of the themes found in Psalm 51:10-15, but merely an introductory sampling. All quotations are from the NASB.
David wrote the 51st Psalm after being confronted by Nathan the prophet about his adultery with Bathsheba and (conspiracy to commit) murder of Uriah. The psalm is David crying out to the Lord for redemption.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God”
When I think of a clean heart I think of the innocence of a child. In Matthew 18:1-4 Christ commands his disciples to be like little children if they wish to enter the Kingdom.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
“And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.
“Do not cast me away from Your presence”
For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.
“And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.”
But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation”
1 Peter 1:3-9
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
“And sustain me with a willing spirit.”
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
“Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You.”
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
“Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation”
Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
“Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness”
Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises.
“O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Your praise.”
Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited. We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come. Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.