Wednesday 12 March, 2014

Psalm 51

1 God, show me your favor in keeping with your faithful love. Because your love is so tender and kind, wipe out my lawless acts. 2 Wash away all of the evil things I’ve done. Make me pure from my sin. 3 I know the lawless acts I’ve committed. I can’t forget my sin. 4 You are the one I’ve really sinned against. I’ve done what is evil in your sight. So you are right when you sentence me. You are fair when you judge me. 5 I know I’ve been a sinner ever since I was born. I’ve been a sinner ever since my mother became pregnant with me. 6 I know that you want truth to be in my heart. You teach me wisdom deep down inside me. 7 Make me pure by sprinkling me with hyssop plant. Then I will be clean. Wash me. Then I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear you say, “Your sins are forgiven.” That will bring me joy and gladness. Let the body you have broken be glad. 9 Take away all of my sins. Wipe away all of the evil things I’ve done. 10 God, create a pure heart in me. Give me a new spirit that is faithful to you. 11 Don’t send me away from you. Don’t take your Holy Spirit away from me. 12 Give me back the joy that comes from being saved by you. Give me a spirit that obeys you. That will keep me going. 13 Then I will teach your ways to those who commit lawless acts. And sinners will turn back to you. 14 You are the God who saves me. I have committed murder. Take away my guilt. Then my tongue will sing about how right you are no matter what you do. 15 Lord, open my lips so that I can speak. Then my mouth will praise you. 16 You don’t take delight in sacrifice. If you did, I would bring it. You don’t take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 The greatest sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. God, you will gladly accept a heart that is broken because of sadness over sin. 18 May you be pleased to give Zion success. Build up the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then holy sacrifices will be offered in the right way. Whole burnt offerings will bring delight to you. And bulls will be offered on your altar.

In this psalm David is completely aware of his sin: he doesn’t try to justify it, or try and convince God to overlook it, instead he confesses his rebellion and wrong. David admits his guilt and acknowledges that God has every right to condemn him and punish him. David does not cry out to God from a place of denial or pride, he cries out confessing his wrong and asking for God, who is compassionate & faithfully loving, to forgive him, cleanse him, and give him a willing spirit. David is asking for God to help him change.

I see how God could call him a man after His own heart, because there is such a beautiful heart expressed here, not fighting God, not arguing why he is right, not blaming God, but agreeing whole-heartedly that he is completely in the wrong, and he needs God’s help to change.

As a teacher I seem to so often encounter the argument and the justification: I can imagine how amazing it would be to have a student say yes, I did the wrong thing, please help me to change. Everything in my heart would say yes, absolutely, I can help you! How much more does God, our Heavenly Father, have a heart that is committed to helping us change, and how much more able is He!

God, please help me to see my sin and acknowledge it for what it is, help me to drop any argument and agree with you. Please help me to change and give me a willing spirit. Thank you God that because of your grace, even though I sin, even though I offend you, you do not put a wall up between us, you remain intimate with me. What incredible love you show me. Help me share that with others. Amen.

Written by Beth Waugh

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