Psalm 51:18
In Your good pleasure, cause Zion to prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem.
Sermons
A Prayer for the Welfare of ZionR. Walker.Psalm 51:18
Do Good unto ZionOriginal Secession MagazinePsalm 51:18
Intercession for ZionT. Alexander, M. A.Psalm 51:18
Joy of Salvation Necessary for TeachersT. Alexander, M. A.Psalm 51:18
Prayer for ZionThomas Horton, D. D.Psalm 51:18
The Christian's Great BusinessPsalm 51:18
The Converted Will Labour to Convert OthersS. Hieron.Psalm 51:18
The Life of Restored UsefulnessCanon Newbolt.Psalm 51:18
The True TeacherU. R. Thomas.Psalm 51:18
The Ways of GodThomas Horton, D. D.Psalm 51:18
Then Shall I TeachJ. H. Jowett, M. A.Psalm 51:18
A Petition and an ArgumentPsalm 51:1-19
Blot Out My TrangressionsAndrew Murray.Psalm 51:1-19
David's RepentanceJ. S. Macintosh, D. D.Psalm 51:1-19
God's Former Dealings a Plea for MercyThomas Horton, D. D.Psalm 51:1-19
God's LovingkindnessT. Alexander, M. A.Psalm 51:1-19
God's MercyA. Symson.Psalm 51:1-19
God's-Tender MerciesT. Alexander, D. D.Psalm 51:1-19
LessonsS. Hieron.Psalm 51:1-19
Sin Blotted OutCampbell Morgan, D. D.Psalm 51:1-19
The Exceeding Sinfulness of SinCanon Newbolt.Psalm 51:1-19
The Fifty-First PsalmF. W. Robertson, M. A.Psalm 51:1-19
The Greatness of Sin to a True PenitentMonday Club SermonsPsalm 51:1-19
The Minister's PsalmW. Forsyth Psalm 51:1-19
The Moan of a KingJ. Parker, D. D.Psalm 51:1-19
The Penitent SinnerHomilistPsalm 51:1-19
The Prayer for MercyAndrew Murray.Psalm 51:1-19
The Prayer of the PenitentG. F. Pentecost, D. D.Psalm 51:1-19
The Prayer of the PenitentDavid O. Mears.Psalm 51:1-19
The Psalmist's Prayer for MercyT. Biddulph, M. A.Psalm 51:1-19
Working for GodC. Short Psalm 51:13-19


With a conscience set free from guilt, with a heart renewed by the Spirit of God, and full of thankfulness for God's great mercy, he cannot keep silent, but will seek to turn other sinners to God. The thirty-second psalm shows how this resolution was kept.

I. HE WHO BY HIS EXAMPLE HAD TAUGHT OTHERS TO SIN WILL NOW SEEK TO CONVERT THEM TO THE WAY OF OBEDIENCE. (Ver. 13.) To the ways of God's commandment. We cannot undo all the evil which our example has done; but we can in part repair it if we renew our lives.

II. DELIVERED FROM HIS SIN, HE WOULD PROCLAIM THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN PUNISHING AND DELIVERING HIM. (Ver. 14.) God is good and righteous in both - in punishing and saving from sin. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

III. THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF PARDONED SIN UNCLOSES THE LIPS WHICH SIN HAD SEALED, AND HE CAN NOW TRULY PRAISE GOD. (Ver. 15.) God opens the lips by giving the sense of forgiveness; then we can preach and sing with a full heart.

IV. THE TRUEST SACRIFICE WE CAN OFFER TO GOD FOR OUR SIN IS REPENTANCE. (Vers. 16, 17.) Not blood or burnt offering; the cleansing of the heart by sorrow and renewal of mind - the work of God's Spirit.

V. WHEN A MAN HAS BEEN TRULY RESTORED HIMSELF, HIS SYMPATHIES WIDEN OUT WITH PRAYER FOR THE NATION AND THE WORLD. (Vers. 18, 19.) Genuine concern for others is founded upon the regeneration of our own spiritual nature. Zeal for others is spurious if we have not been zealous about ourselves; like those philosophers Cowper speaks of -

"Giving lives to distant worlds, And trifling in our own."









Do good in Thy good pleasure unto Zion.
I. THE PLACE PRAYED FOR. Under the name "Zion" David here prays for the whole Church, whose practice is herein considerable for our example.

1. Considered as a godly man, he prays for it so; whereby he shows us the nature and disposition of every good Christian besides, as also the duty of every one that pretends to an interest in the Church. This may be made out unto us upon this ground and consideration; because, namely, of that near relation which they bear unto it, and benefit which they receive by it. There is not a greater nearness of the members of a natural body one to another, than there is in the members of the mystical. And yet, if we well consider it, how few are there which lay this to heart, which take care of the prosperity of Zion, and which are affected with good-will to it? Most men seek their own advantage, the enlarging and settling of themselves, but they are but few which do lay out their thoughts and endeavours for the good of the Church. Nay, it were well if some now and then were not employed in that which is contrary, which are haters and ill-willers to it (Psalm 129:5).

2. As a guilty man, David now reflected on the mischief he had done to the Church of God by his sin; and now, therefore, to make it some amends, he puts it into his prayer, that God would do good unto it, as that which was the only recompense and satisfaction which he was able to make it. We may hence judge of the work of repentance and conversion what is in us. He who truly repents of his sin, will endeavour to do good answerably to the evil which has been done by him.

II. THE THING PRAYED FOR ABOUT IT; viz. that it have good done unto it. We must take it in the latitude, and full extent, which is of good in all kinds, but more especially of such good as is proper and peculiar to the Church, considered as such, within its own circle and compass, which is spiritual and eternal good. Where, for the ordering of our prayers aright upon such occasions, we may take notice of these particulars.

1. The free enjoyment of the ordinances and means of grace. These make up a great part of the good of Zion, and we should be instant with God for His Church in this regard, that He would vouchsafe, and uphold, and maintain the ministry of it.

2. The extirpation of errors and heresies, and the promoters of them, this is likewise conducing to the good. It can never be well with the Church, any further than as God is pleased to convert it by His overruling power. Therefore, as ever we desire the welfare of it, we must bend our prayers to this particular.

3. The multiplication of converts, that's another thing pertinent hereunto. The welfare of Zion lies much in the number of those which belong unto it.

4. The concord and agreement of believers amongst themselves; this is another thing of the same nature with it; it was well with Zion in those days when they were all of one accord in one place (Acts 2:1). This is as much for the good of the Church as anything else, and does as much need and require our prayers and petitions for it.

III. THE MODIFICATION OF THE REQUEST. "In Thy good pleasure."

1. It is a word of special influence, and does denote unto us the rise and spring of all good to be expected to the Church, which is the love and good-will of God. David does not now come to God for his Church upon terms of merit or desert, but only upon terms of favour and free grace, "Do good in Thy good pleasure." And this is that which all must still do, even the best that are; they must thus make their addresses to God even in the behalf of the Church itself. And the reason of it is this, because we are all debtors to God, and stand obnoxious to Him; we deserve no good from Him; and that good which already we have, we have in a manner forfeited by our miscarriages; therefore it must be free grace and favour that must set us right, there's nothing else which will be helpful to us.

2. It is a word of limitation; a limitation not of God, but indeed of His own prayer and request. As if he had said, Lord, I do very earnestly beg of Thee that Thou wouldst do good to Thy Church; but I do not herein go about to limit Thee, or confine Thee, or prescribe Thee, but I leave it wholly to Thyself; "Do good in Thy good pleasure," that is, as shall seem good and best in Thine own eyes to do.

3. It is a word of insinuation, as it seems to carry the force of an argument in it, and thai thus, Lord, Thou bearest a special love and affection to Zion, which is Thy Church above all others besides. Now, therefore, according to this affection which is in Thee towards it, be pleased to do good to it; as the sister of Lazarus to Christ (John 11:3), whereby she would persuade Him to be active for his recovery. So does David here now to God in behalf of the Church, "Do good of Thy good pleasure to Zion"; that is, according to Thy wonted favour and lovingkindness towards her. It is a great encouragement in our addresses to God at any time for His poor Church to have the advantage of His own affections to it, which will prevail with Him so much the easier to goodness upon it. The reason of it is this, because God delights to be like Himself; He is good, and doeth good; and He is yesterday, and to-day, the same for ever. Therefore those bowels which persuade Him to do good to the Church at first, persuade Him still to the continuance of its.

(Thomas Horton, D. D.)

Original Secession Magazine.
Though a popular and prevalent, it is a false or at least very defective form of Christianity, which, if personal salvation is attained, or supposed to be attained, is indifferent to the interests of truth, the welfare of the Church, and the public cause of Christ. The more profoundly we are interested in, and the more sensibly we are assured of our own salvation, the better fitted are we for being, and the more likely are we to be "valiant for the truth upon the earth." We should seek that God would do good unto Zion —

I. IN THE WAY OF INCREASING THE NUMBER OF HER GENUINE CONVERTS. It is not in the number, or wealth, or worldly influence of her nominal members, but in the number of true believers, "called and chosen and faithful," loving the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth, who are found within her pale, that her strength and stability and beauty consist. In proportion as she is destitute of these latter, may Ichabod — the glory is departed — be written on her brow. It is they alone, of all her members, who show forth the transforming power of Divine grace, and the condescension of Divine love, and who reflect the purity of her glorious Head.

II. IN THE WAY OF CAUSING THE GRACES OF THE SPIRIT TO FLOURISH IN HER TRUE MEMBERS. It would be a token for good were believers generally constrained to long for the reviving influences of the Spirit, as the chased roe pants for the cooling stream, or as the parched ground thirsts for the refreshing shower — were they in the same frame of mind as the Spouse in Canticles when she cried, "Awake, O north wind, and come thou south: blow upon my garden that the spices may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden and eat his pleasant fruits."

III. IN THE WAY OF ENABLING HER TO BE FAITHFUL TO HER LORD. And this faithfulness we shall only notice here as it bears upon her testifying for His truths, preserving the purity of His ordinances, and enforcing the laws of His house. According as she fulfils or fails in fulfilling these functions, does she prove faithful or faithless to her high mission as "the pillar and ground of the truth," and as a witness for God in the world.

IV. IN THE WAY OF HEALING HER DIVISIONS. These are her weakness, her shame, her sin. The armies of Israel are spending in intestine conflict that strength which is needed against, and which would powerfully tell upon, their common foes.

V. BY EXTENDING HER BOUNDARIES. There are still many "dark places of the earth," which are "full of the habitations of horrid cruelty." There are hundreds of millions of our race sitting in the shadow of moral and spiritual darkness and death, athwart which a beam from the Sun of Righteousness has never shone. They are perishing for lack of knowledge. In darkness they live, in darkness they die, and to the blackness of darkness at death they descend. So long, however, as this is the case, the promise of the Divine Father to His Son shall not be fully performed, "I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession" — numerous predictions of Scripture shall remain unfulfilled — and the Church shall not have attained her destined and promised position of glory in our world. But all these events shall yet take place, however impossible they may now appear to the eye of sense. Every obstacle to this — physical, political, ecclesiastical, or moral — shall be removed. In asking these blessings from God for Zion, we should do so in a spirit of entire dependence upon Him for their bestowal; under a sense of personal unworthiness; in a spirit of resignation to the Divine will; from a supreme desire for the Divine glory; and under a deep sense of personal obligation to active exertion on our part, in order to their being obtained.

(Original Secession Magazine.)

I. THE MATTER OF THE PRAYER.

1. The first petition hath an obvious reference to the tribes of Israel, considered in their spiritual state, as a religious community, or the true Church of God.

2. The other petition hath a reference to the civil state of the Jews as a commonwealth or kingdom, and is a prayer for their national safety and prosperity.

II. THE ORDER IN WHICH THE PETITIONS ARE PLACED. He begins with praying for the good of Zion, and then offers his supplication in behalf of Jerusalem. Nor is this an accidental or arbitrary arrangement. The same subordination of temporal to spiritual blessings is uniformly observed through the whole of the sacred record, both in the promises of God, and in the accepted prayer of His people.

III. THE TEMPER OF MIND with which they appear to have been accompanied.

1. David had a just impression of his absolute dependence on God, and did not trust in the arm of flesh, but looked for help from God alone.

2. The form of his address likewise discovers the deep conviction he had of his own unworthiness.

(R. Walker.)

"Zion," in this verse, means the hill on which the temple stood, and is therefore taken for the temple itself; and the temple, again, means God's worshipping Church, with God Himself dwelling in the midst of it. He prays for good to this worshipping assembly of God's people, under the designation first of Zion, second of Jerusalem. In the second aspect the Church is figured by a city, a metropolitan city, a walled city. The Church is brought before us as a city, and her members as citizens. They are members of the heavenly polity. Jerusalem stands for the gathered assembly of God's people worshipping and dwelling secure in their quiet habitations (Hebrews 12:22). It is the rich grace of God, and His free love and unchangeable good-will to His people, that are the sole causes of the welfare of His Church God alone can do good unto Zion; He alone can build up the walls of Jerusalem. But to this work God has a good-will. Zion lies near His heart. When we are seeking this, when we are labouring for this, we are sure to find favour with God. God alone can do it; still our duty is to labour, to teach transgressors God's ways, that sinners may be converted unto Him. All that befalls the Church is according to the good pleasure of God's will. This is the ground of our calling, election, justification, glorification. Whatever we seek must ever be sought under this restriction, "Thy good pleasure." Build Thou; but do it in Thine own wise time, in Thine own good way. Build Thou the walls of separation, that divide the Church from the world; let them be in it, not of it: keep them from its evil.

(T. Alexander, M. A.)

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