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Monday, August 4, 2014

Digging into the Psalms (Part 4)- Give Me a Clean Heart

Psalm 51 has always fascinated me. When King David wrote it he had just been involved in some pretty scandalous things. He had slept with another man's wife and to make matters worse he manipulated events so that her husband would be killed in battle. The story is full of intrigue and countless lies on top of lies. On the one hand when I read those passages in 2 Samuel I want to yell at David not to do it like you would at a really bad horror movie as the main character is about to open the door to the serial killer. On the other hand, I love that this story is included in the Holy Scriptures. It is comforting to know that all men and women, even men and women of God, sin and fall sometimes. David was human. As he says in verse 5 he was "brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me."

David was just like you and me and everyone else on this planet. He lost to temptation and fell into sin. As I said in my last post, the human heart is so prone to wander from the heart of God. Even for those that know God and are in relationship with him, we daily have to confess our sin to God and repent because we are continuously tempted to turn from His ways and walk down the wrong path. It is a daily battle we all have to fight.

Our sin, if left unconfessed, creates a barrier between us and God. When that happens the distance we experience from our heavenly father leaves us joyless and in despair. Sometimes this is an instant sense of lostness and sometimes its a gradual process of the deadening of our hearts to the things of God. Either way allowing sin to remain unconfessed leaves us broken and burdened. David, in verse 8, asks God to restore the bones in him that have been broken because of his sin. Confessing sin restores joy to our hearts and brings praise to our lips.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

(Psalm 51:7-12 ESV)

O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

(Psalm 51:17-18)

David tells us that God doesn't delight in our rote religious practices or empty words of praise or our dutiful sacrifices. God delights in confession, in having a broken spirit before Him and in handing Him a heart that can be cleaned and molded for His use. God doesn't despise our honest confession of sin, He desires it and calls us to do it on a daily basis.

I don't know about you, but I am so thankful that no matter my sin, when I come before Him I know that because of His steadfast love He will always forgive me and extend His never ending mercy to me. Oh what freedom there is when we are washed from our sin and given a clean heart! Daily I am so thankful that He is not finished with me yet!

Create in me a clean, clean heart
Create in me a work of art
Create in me a miracle
Something real and something beautiful

Create a miracle in me

You're not finished with me yet
You're not finished with me yet
By Your power I can change, I can change
'Cause You're not finished with me yet 

(Create in Me by Rend Collective)