(Today's post by Joshua Jones)
A Clean Heart
We all know the story. If not, here’s a brief recap- David, the great King of the Israelites, the man who would be known later as a man after God’s own heart, goes up on the roof of his building and sees a woman bathing. David was looking for trouble, he was in a place where he wasn’t supposed to be, at a time he wasn’t supposed to be there. (At this time if the year, David should have been out on the fields of battle with his men, but decided to stay home. This woman was Bathsheba, and instead of turning away, David decides to keep looking. Even more, he sends for the woman! After a night with the Bathsheba, she becomes pregnant, and trying to cover his lack of judgement up, David has her husband killed in battle. Psalm 51 begins right in the middle of David’s lack of moral decision making.
I love the way that David comes to God. He does not come with any excuses- he lays everything out. “I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” (aka Bathsheba is getting bigger every day, and it is not from that pita bread and hummus). David is constantly bombarded with the repercussions of his sin. He sees it, and he also feels it. That sin is what has brought him to his knees before God.
David doesn’t stop there though. He continues, “You delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” David realizes that his lack of judgment came as the result of his inward sin and lack of focus on the truth of God. Only through God can we truly know our decisions are wise.
I love David’s plea in the next few verses. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not 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.” David gets it. At this point, David is not worried about his kingship. He is not worried about what everyone is going to think about him and Bathsheba. He is worried- no, distraught about his status with God. At this point, he will give all he has to get back in right standing with God.
David wraps up his prayer with a statement: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God you will not despise.”
In this Psalm, I see a lot of lessons about how we are supposed to come to God with our sin. First, God does not want our excuses. He is not surprised that we sin, or even that we are coming to him with guilt. Just as with David, God wants to teach us. He wants to use those situations to build us into the people he made us to be. Coming to the throne requires humility, and we can come into God’s throne room knowing there is grace enough to forgiven us of those sins. David pleas with God for forgiveness, for a clean heart, and for a fresh start. He comes to God broken, but we see that the role God had for him did not end there. As said before, David came to be known as a man after God’s own heart. He must have done something right.
I love this Psalm because it shows how real we can be with God. Take a moment to drop all of the facades, and be real. Talk to God, no sin is too great for His forgiveness.