good quote

" In my opinion, the great single need of the moment is that light-hearted superficial religionists be struck down with a vision of God high and lifted up, with His train filling the temple. The holy art of worship seems to have passed away like the Shekinah glory from the tabernacle. As a result, we are left to our own devices and forced to make up the lack of spontaneous worship by ...bringing in countless cheap and tawdry activities to hold the attention of the church people." ~ A.W. Tozer

Monday, January 10, 2011

Psalm 73

Psalm 73

" Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. Their eyes stand out with fatness:they have more than heart could wish. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. Verily I have cleased my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understand I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As as dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image. Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy councel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works."

Envy: An Enemy from Within

topic: God's abiding presence is better than abounding prosperity

Lindsey's faded clothes and well-worn shoes embarrassed her. She felt conspicuous at school because she looked different from the other teens. She heard her parents thank God for giving them health, strength, work, shelter, food and clothes. She heard them rejoice in God's faithfulness. She memorized Matthew 6:33 when her family learned the verse together in devotions: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

Nevertheless, Lindsey had questions. If her parents were so godly, why didn't they have enough money to buy the newest styles for her? Why did the other kids in the neighborhood, whose parents didn't believe in Christ, have state-of-the-art audio- visual equipment, take fab vacations and wear the coolest clothes? She envied the fun and the many expensive things those other young people had.

Lindsey determined that when she became an adult, she would not go to church or read the Bible. In spite of her parents' instruction and example, she concluded that only a fool would to be a Christian, because ungodly people have more money and more fun than Christians.

Lindsey's kind of thinking has characterized many generations and has resulted in the downfall of multitudes of believers.

Asaph, a chief musician of David, spent a great deal of time developing and leading music at worship services in Jerusalem. He, too, watched the people around him and noticed that the wicked prospered. This prosperity seemed contrary to God's promise of blessing upon the righteous.

Asaph's observations disturbed his mind, and his heart filled with envy. His words in Psalm 73:1 reveal that he understood God had blessed Israel and pure-hearted people: "Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart." But Asaph had trouble reconciling God's goodness to His people with the prosperity of arrogant, wicked people. Like Lindsey, he walked a treacherous path toward rejecting his faith.

Asaph's Condition

Asaph- a man of great musical ability, organizational skill and prestige- enjoyed many advantages as the chief musician of David's day. Nevertheless, the successes and power of certain people around him bothered him. He envied the unrighteous and unbelieving for possessing things he did not have. "But as for me," he wrote, "my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped" (verse 2). He pictured himself as standing on a slippery place, ready to lose his footing.

Joshua, a teenage farm boy, loved to trap and hunt, as had his older brothers, and doing better required some risk taking. His efforts to excel led him into some dangerous places. For example, to set traps near some dens on a hillside, Joshua had to climb a narrow path on a steep hill high above a bluff. One warm winter day, he decided to take a shortcut across the snow-covered hill above the cliff. As he approached an extremely steep part of the slope, he began to slide on the slick snow. Joshua slid for nearly 60 feet toward the edge of the cliff. In desperation he spread his legs and arms in an effort to stop himself. His heart raced as he slid faster toward certain death. When Joshua was only a few feet from the drop-off, his foot snagged a small bush. Hours later, as the snow began to freeze again, Joshua inched his way off the hillside to safety.

The psalmist realized that he was in a spiritually treacherous, slippery position. "For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked."

Note that he referred to wicked people as "foolish." The book of Proverbs often uses this word to describe an arrogant person who is like a rowdy boy who struts through the halls of his school with his chest sticking out, banging into everybody. He has a haughty spirit and shows concern for no one else.

The causes of envy

In Psalm 73: 3-12 Asaph described in great detail the sleek, well-fed people he envied. They sat at banquets and were unintimidated by others. They prospered, and they took pride in their prosperity (verses 6,7). They often persecuted others (verse 8) and even made sarcastic statements about God Himself (verses 9, 11). They did not seem to have the troubles that other men has, nor were they plagued by famine or war (verse 5). Asaph observed, "There are no bands in their death" (verse 4). They seemed to have painless, unencumbered deaths.

Asaph also noted how the rich seemed to circumvent the problems of life. Their horses were well fed and well trained. They rode fancy chariots that never broke down. Footmen walked before and behind them to protect them. Their granaries were filled with grain for any emergency. They had money to spare and connections so they could buy the best. (see verses 4b and 7.)

In verse 6 Asaph exclaimed that they "wore" pride around their necks like a pendant for everyone to notice. Besides that, they "wore" violence like a garment. They openly demonstrated their heartlessness and violence. Unafraid of the law or the consequences of their behavior, they were able to sap the lifeblood from others without worry (verses 10, 11). In verse 7 he described them as having eyes that stood out with fatness. They had more than their hearts could desire.

He also observed that the people were corrupt (verse 8a). He probably meant "corrupt in their minds." He observed them carrying on high conversations about how they oppressed other people (verse 8b). In other words, they held little conferences at which they discussed with satisfaction their harsh and cruel treatment of less fortunate people.

Asaph saw that they set their mouths against Heaven itself, challenging the rights of God (verse 9). He observed, "Their tongue walketh through the earth," probably indicating that they spent considerable time talking about all of the places they had traveled, as well as their influence from coast to coast.

These rich, proud people had many followers who flocked after them, hoping to gain something by an association with them (verse 10a). Instead, however, the wealthy drained them and persecuted them (verse 10b). Even while they were doing it, they made sarcastic remarks about God, insinuating that He couldn't possibly know what was going on and that He probably knew nothing at all (verse 11).

As Asaph looked at those self-sufficient, strong, proud, violent talkers, he realized that although they were exceedingly ungodly, they prospered tremendously as far as the world was concerned. In short, they were better off than he was. His observation brought him to the same devastating conclusion that Lindsey reached.

The Confusion Caused by Envy

The psalmist concluded that living a pure, godly life was all in vain (Psalm 73:13). He complained, "For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning" (verse 14). His faith in Jehovah was not paying off. As things looked to him, the world was better off than he.

Like many other believers with these kinds of doubts, Asaph hid them in his heart and continued to live in misery. (verse 15). His conclusions were simply too painful to meditate upon (verse 16).

It is fortunate that the psalm does not end with verse 16 and that Asaph also narrated his restoration from that pit of depression.

The Cure of Envy

Four distinct things brought Asaph out of his envious despair. First, he went into the house of God to hear the Word of God (verse 17). He took part in the music portion of the worship under King David, so it was common for him to return to the sanctuary where he could hear the Word of God taught.

Many of us believers have looked at the world and longed after the things of the world. Those who allow themselves to be sidetracked from attending church or Sunday School find it difficult to combat envy. Only when we return to sit under the teaching of God's Word do we begin to see the other side of the picture. Asaph wrote, "Until I went into the sanctuary of God [I envied the wicked; verse 3]; then [after I spent time in the sanctuary] understood I their end" (verse 17). As we worship and learn with other believers, we realize that our righteous life and commitment to the Lord are worthwhile.

Reconsidering the wicked man's future was the second step in bringing Asaph out of his envious despair. This reconsideration occurred while he worshiped in the sanctuary, where teachers of the law confronted him. He noted that though the wicked appeared prosperous, they actually stood in slippery places (verse 18). He came to realize they were the ones figuratively hanging over the edge of the cliff. God would cast them down to destruction (verse 19) just as He had destroyed the hosts of Pharaoh in the Red Sea (Exodus 14:24-29) and had swallowed up Korah in the ground when he rebelled against Moses (Numbers 16). God would cast down the ungodly as He did King Saul at the hand of the Philistines (1 Samuel 15:23; 31:1-9) or Absalom in the oak tree (2 Samuel 18:9, 100. He would punish them as He had the Assyrians after their armies ravaged the land of Israel (Isaiah 37:36, 37).

The psalmist came to understand that the lives of the wicked are like a dream. He declared, "As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image" (Psalm 73:20). Dreams have no meaning or significance in the broad daylight of reality. Though dreams may bring pleasure or despair while they are occurring thay have no lasting value.

That truth brought Asaph to the third step in his cure of envy. Psalm 73:21 and 22 tell us that he repented : "Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee." Recognizing his foolishness and ignorance for thinking such envious thoughts, he lifted his eyes toward the blessings of God.

A fresh look at the presence and provision of God was the fourth step in Aspah's victory over envy. In verses 23-26 he pictured his position as a child of God. The Father tenderly held his right hand to guide him through the course of his life without error or flaw (verse 23). Even though troublesome times and disconcerting days he was assured that God was accomplishing His will in Asaph's life (verse 24a). He also knew that upon his death he would go into God's presence (verse 24b). He no longer measured success in life by the accomplishments of the wicked, but by the presence and care of his Savior. "Whom have I in heaven but thee?" he asked (verse 25a). He concluded, "And there is none upon the earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart, and my portion for ever....But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD that I may declare all thy works" (verses 25b-28). Asaph could say with Job:

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me (Job 19:25-27).

Every believer today needs to remember the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. the rich man was materially prosperous; Lazarus, on the other hand, was a beggar. But in the day of their death, God exonerated and blessed Lazarus because of his faith. The rich man, however, died and was ushered into eternal destruction. That story keeps the major issues of life in clear perspective. We believers should never envy the wicked. They do not have God's blessing upon their lives, nor will they experience the presence of God throughout eternity.

this was taken from chapter 7 of "Songs That Touch the Heart: Selected Psalms" by john White.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Psalm 51: 12-19

Psalm 51: 12-19

"Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness. O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. For thou desirest not sacrifice else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar."

Resolutions That Work

topic: Having received forgiveness, the believer should tell others about God's grace.

After his sin with Bathsheba and the subsequent confrontation by Nathan, David crumbled in repentance under the crushing load of his guilt (2 Samuel 11; 12; Psalm 51). When he repented, David pleaded for mercy and for restoration to fellowship with God. God forgave David and renewed him to fellowship. But repentance and renewal were not the end of the matter. Something more happened to David.

Somewhere beyond repentance and renewal comes "reinvolvement" in the work of Jehovah. In order to put his desire into practice, he made four clear-cut resolutions that would thrust him back into a place of responsible activity. Genuine repentance will always include some resolutions that declare the restored sinner's intention to work for God once again.

Since New Testament days, some Christians have a morbid attitude about life. They promote crucifying self and denying pleasure. They live morosely in the shadow of the cross and the tomb. This kind of thinking is unprofitable. If believers neglect to meditate on the miracle of new life in Christ and joyful service for Him, life takes on the character or an over-whelming burden.

Each of us believers has been cleansed by the blood of Christ. For that reason we may lift our eyes toward Heaven with hope, anticipating great service for God. We must go to the ripe harvest fields (john 4:35; Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 1:8). We must teach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2). We must make disciples (2 Timothy 2:2; Matthew 28:19, 20). We must help strengthen families. We must have sweet fellowship and fill the air with songs as we, the army of Christ, march to victory (Colossians 3:12-16; Romans 8:35,37; 1 John 5:4).

David understood this hope. Although great sin had marred his life, he repented. Then he resolved to reenter service for the Lord. His list of resolutions demonstrates the kind of objectives we believers should form when we find ourselves in simular circumstances.

You will notice that before David stated each resolution, he made a request. He did not base his resolutions upon whims or upon his own efforts. His objectives rested solidly upon God's provision. Before he made a promise, he prayed for divine provision. When we believers learn to follow this pattern, we will experience less disillusionment and greater success in carrying out our earnest resolves.

Resolution #1: Concerning Evangelism

David's first request and resolve concerned his witness to sinners. First and Second Samuel portray David as an outspoken man. He rebuked those who walked contrary to God's will. He taught them the characteristics of a right relationship with the Lord and the consequences of disobedience.

However, sin had silenced the voice of that great witness. David dared not speak to sinners about the waywardness of their lives because of his own sin (2 Samuel 12:14a). Often a man will become soft toward other people's sins when he himself is living in sin.

David wanted to tell other people about God. His mouth was no longer stopped. But before David made his resolution about witnessing, he requested that God restore to him the joy of his salvation (Psalm 51:12). He promised that he would 'teach transgressors thy ways" when that joy returned (verse 13).

After we have experienced spiritual or moral defeat, we do not want to witness. When we know that nothing has worked right for us, when God seems far off or when bitterness wells up within us, we do not feel up to telling others about Christ. We find it difficult to admonish another person to be right with God when we are out of fellowship with God ourselves.

At that point we need to repent and ask God for the joy of forgiveness and deliverance so we may once again bear witness for Jesus Christ. David did not pray for the restoration of salvation. he prayed for the restoration of the JOY of salvation (verse 12a).

David also asked God, "Uphold me with thy free spirit" (verse 12b). The word SPIRIT here probably does not refer to the Holy Spirit of God, but to a willing spirit. He needed the support of an agreeable spirit for God, a spirit responsive to God. Many times when we have sinned and then returned to the Lord, we think we can never witness again. We sit back and remain silent. Our unwillingness to be involved drives us into further isolation (Proverbs 18:1). David cried out to the Lord, asking for both joy and a willing spirit. He knew that when he recieved them, he would become an active witness once again.

Resolution #2: Concerning the Presentation of Righteousness

Before David made his resolution about righteousness, he presented a request to Jehovah for deliverance from bloodguiltiness (Psalm 51:14). He certainly was guilty of the blood of Uriah the Hittite and of other men. However, the term BLOODGUILTINESS has more to do with sins that demand the death penalty than it does with being guilty of shedding blood. David had committed at least two sins that demanded his death; adultry with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah.

David knew he must either be delivered from the penalty of his sins of suffer death in order to satisfy the righteous law of God. He could never again speak of God's righteousness or of His righteous law unless God somehow balanced David's account by removing his guilt. Nathan had told David that certain consequences would result from his sin but that his death would not be one of them (2 Samuel 12: 10-14): "And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die" (verse 13).

David's request in the first part of Psalm 51:14 precedes his promise in the second part of the verse, where he resolved to sing or shout about the righteousness of God. If God would take care of his problem, David could speak openly about God's righteous law and the necessity of obeying it.

When we Christians get involved in sin, our attitudes toward God's righteous standards changes. Suddenly we rationalize our behavior, justify things we know are completely wrong and talk about how unfair or unreasonable God is.

I knew a young man who always did whatever his feelings told him to do. Although he had grown up in a Christian home where his parents practiced and taught the high standards of God, he rebelled at an early age and yielded to various sins. He reached a level of debauchery that took him into the gutter and to prison by the time he was eighteen. Unbelievably sordid stories came back to his parents and his pastor during those grim days of his life.

One day, in total desperation he cried out to God for deliverance and salvation. God granted the request of his heart. Later that man could speak clearly about the necessity of adhering to the righteous regulations imposed by God. Because he had been forgiven, he made the righteousness of God the rule of his life and the theme of his song.

Resolution # 3: Concerning Praise

The third resolution to break forth from David's lips has to do with praising God (Psalm 51:15). When a man falls into sin, he tends to blame God for the problems that brought about the sin or led to the failure. But after God has forgiven and restored him, he desires to praise God for His mercy and grace. Like evangelism and the preaching of righteousness, praise to God must come from a PURE heart.

We may express praise in sacrifice or testimony or prayers. But praise finds its most natural and fullest manifestation in happy musical expression. When God fills the heart with praise, he puts a new song in the mouth: "And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD" (Psalm 40:3). joy breaks forth like the fresh rains of spring. On the basis of His forgiveness, David prayed that God would open his lips so he could praise and extol God for Who He is, for what He has done and for how He deals with men (Psalm 51:15). David selected praise as the most acceptable sacrifice to offer to God because at that time God did not want the sacrifice of animals upon a burning altar (verse 16). Rather, He wanted the sacrifice of a broken spirit from the king, expressed with words of thanksgiving and exaltation (verse 17).

Resolution #4: Concerning Sacrifices in Jerusalem

One final resolution came to the mind of the psalmist. He felt it necessary to resolve to do something about his worship and the worship of the people in the capital city of his kingdom. David's sin had inhibited him in his witness, in his preaching of righteousness and in his praise to God. It had also slowed the building of the city. The people had not completed the walls or built the temple. Consequently, the people of Jerusalem had only inadequate opportunities for worship.

"Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: Build thou the walls of Jerusalem," prayed the psalmist (Psalm 51:18). Because his sin had affected progress in the city, David requested a special blessing upon the internal workings of the city and asked for strength to complete the building of the walls. He resolved that after the people had finished building the walls and God had blessed city, the people would worship Him by offering sacrifices (verse 19).

With his four resolutions accomplished, David could rest. He and his people could again bring glory to the God of Heaven and earth.

Never forget that when sin enters your life, you must recognize it, repent, confess it to God, seek restoration of fellowship available to you and make resolutions that will lead you into renewed service for the Lord.

this was taken from chapter 6 of "Songs That Touch the Heart: Selected Psalms" by John White

Psalm 51:1-11

Psalm 51:1-11

"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me."

A Sinner's Prayer

topic: True Joy is found ONLY in a right relationship with God.

One of God's greatest servants walked on the roof of his home in the late afternoon of a beautiful Middle Eastern day. As he looked from the roof of his palatial home, his eyes came to rest upon a woman who was bathing, perhaps in a courtyard or on a roof nearby. The woman was beautiful. Thus began the story of David's great sin with Bathsheba, the murder of her husband, Uriah, and the death of an illegitimate child. (see 2 Samuel 11:1-12:8.) David's sin led him into darkness, despair, disgrace and defeat. When the prophet Nathan confronted David and condemned him as the stealer of a woman and the murderer of an innocent man, David's spirit was crushed within him. Guilt piled upon guilt in his broken heart.

In the hours that followed, David sat at his table and penned his words of repentance. As was his custom, David wrote those words in the form of a song, our Psalm 51. The first eleven verses contain prayers- a prayer of repentance in verses 1-9 and a prayer of renewal in verses 10 and 11.

A Prayer of Repentance

David's prayer of repentance involves six separate items, each of which should come from a truly repentant heart.

A cry for mercy.

Grace, one of God's characteristics, allows Him to give sinful men things they do not deserve. His mercy, on the other hand, is a characteristic that causes Him to withhold punishment from an individual who deserves it. "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness" began David. (Psalm 51:1). He pleaded that God would withhold from him the wrath he should have received because of the chain of sins he had forged.

No man should ever want what he deserves from God, because every man deserves death and Hell as a result of his sin (Romans 6:23a). Only the mercy of God withholds the hand of God's wrath upon rebellious and sin-distorted mankind.

Like earthly parents, God also corrects those who act foolishly. The repentant person, knowing what he deserves, must cry out to God for mercy, recognizing that his behavior will bring God's wrath unless God extends mercy to him.

David asked God to measure His mercy His His own loving-kindness. The word "loving-kindness" suggests the loyalty of one individual to another because of an established love relationship accompanied by an agreement, perhaps even a covenant. God had certainly expressed his loving-kindness toward David, and David pleaded for mercy on the basis of a past covenant relationship.

Often in a marriage, occasions arise when the husband of wife will plead for mercy and forgiveness on the basis of the covenant the two made at their wedding.

When company is coming and the wife has cleaning to do, food to prepare and dishes to wash, she appreciates having her husband come home immediately after work. When he decides instead to leave work two hours early to play golf and finally arrives home a half hour before dinner, bragging about his golf score, his wife will undoubtedly be upset. Her feelings are justified, but she does not dismiss him or divorce him because of his insensitivity and selfishness.

Because of the rich love that brought about their marriage, she will forgive and seek to restore the kind of fellowship they had enjoyed before. This happens, of course, when the husband realizes what he has done, confesses his failure to his wife and asks for the extension of her mercy, resulting in his forgiveness and restoration.

A plea for clearing of the record.

When a child does something wrong, his parent has the option either to forgive and forget the wrong or to punish the child. In the spring after a boy's tenth birthday, he put a rock in his slingshot, took careful aim and released the rock in the general direction of an obnoxious sparrow. But without thinking, he had also aimed the rock at the kitchen window of his family's farm home.

As the window shattered, he knew he had committed a sin. His mother had told him many times never to shoot rocks toward the house. He had done it, however, and the evidence was clearly visible. When he saw what had happened, he ran out of the yard, past the barn and down the lane toward the garden where his mother was working. He crossed the creek and climbed up the big bank, sobbing every step of the way.

When his mother saw him crying, she assumed he was hurt. She came over, put her arms around him and asked what was the matter. He blurted out over and over again, "I broke the kitchen window. I broke the kitchen window." His mother did not beat him. She did not criticize him. She simply erased the debt of his act. He would never forget that mercy.She reacted to her son in tenderness.

David knew that he had broken his relationship with God because of his sin. In tears he pleaded, "According unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions" (Psalm 51:1b). God graciously blotted them out so that David would need to plead no more.

A request for cleansing.

"Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin," prayed David (verse 2). Every genuinely repentant person desires complete cleansing and forsaking of his sin. He does not casually bow before God and request that God take away a portion of his sin while he retains the rest. Nor does he ask for a temporary cleansing so he can return to his sin.

David prayed for cleansing through and through. He could see the filth of his spiritual garments and wanted nothing more to do with them until they were absolutely clean. The dark, dirty colors of his sin did not match the expected righteousness of the king's life, so he begged for cleansing through forgiveness. David based his request for cleansing upon a full recognition of his wrongdoing. He did not have a glib attitude toward his sin.

A recognition of sin.

David fully acknowledged his transgression (verse 3). As a matter of fact, his sin was so prominent in his mind that he said, "My sin is ever before me." Every place he turned, he saw reminders of what he had done. Day and night the thoughts of his sin raged through his troubled mind. In verse 4, David confessed that he had sinned primarily against God: "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight." He was fully conscious that he had sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah. But he had also wronged the Creator of Heaven and earth, and David had to seek reconciliation with Him.

Every one of our sins is aimed directly at God. When Johnny Juvenile-offender shoplifted from the neighborhood grocery store, he hurt the store's regular customers, because they had to pay for his theft through higher prices. In a certain sense J.J. transgressed against his neighbors. But his major offense was against the store owner, who, when he caught J.J., prosecuted him.

When David sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah, he transgressed against them, but he transgressed against God in a greater way. David was clearly aware that God would prosecute him. He needed the forgiveness of the Sovereign Whose people he had violated.

When we sin against one of God's people, we must remember to seek not only the forgiveness of the person we sinned against, but also the forgiveness of God because we have violated Him too.

A realization of depravity.

David fully recognized the potential of his life when he said, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me" (verse 5). He knew that his propensity to sin had been present in him from his earliest days. He was depraved by nature. His poor, repentant heart was aware of his great tendencies , and with a clear recognition of them, he cried out to God for a solution.

A plea for a solution.

In verses 6 through 9, David revealed his desire to be clean: "Make me to know wisdom" (verse 6b); "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (verse 7); "Blot out all my iniquities" (verse 9).

In his book When God Chooses: the Life of David Keith Kaynor wrote, "Placing the psalms written during this period of David's life [from his sin with Bathsheba through the following year] in chronological order, they would appear as follows: 38, 2, 51 and 32" ([Schaumburg, IL: Regular Baptist Press, 1989] p. 242). Those psalms reveal how David felt during that time. Depression overwhelmed him (Psalm 32.3, 4; 38:3, 4); he could no eat. He often felt apathetic and lethargic (Psalm 38:8, 10). He was filled with anxiety, and tears often came upon him. His despair brought him to the place of repentance (Psalm 32:5, 38:17-22). Now the first progress beyond repentance began to manifest itself. He had a deep-seated desire once again to know joy and happiness (Psalm 511:8).

A Prayer for Renewal

During the summer of 1993, the American news media provided daily reports on the battle between flooding rivers and Midwesterners. For the most part, the floods won, and hundreds of Americans were left with devastated farm land, businesses and homes. Those who chose not to relocate faced an intimidating twofold job: (1) clean up the mud and debris and (2) rebuild and restore.

In the first part of Psalm 51, David requested that God remove the dirt from him. In the next part of his prayer, he requested the God "renew" him so God could use him again. For believers, getting back into fellowship with God involves confessing our sin (1John 1:9). When we confess our sin, God restores us to fellowship with Himself. Thus renewed, we can worship and serve God with renewed spiritual zeal and strength.

The psalmist prayed for four specific things. First, he requested a clean heart: "Create in me a clean heart, O God' (Psalm 51:10a). Second, he prayed for a good or right spirit: "Renew a right spirit within me" (verse 10b). Third, he asked God for His abiding presence: "Cast me not away from thy presence" (verse 11a). And fourth, he appealed for the continued presence of the Holy Spirit of God, empowering him for service and ministry: "Take not thy holy spirit from me" (verse 11b).

Repentance and renewal lead to usefulness and blessing. Without them, no amount of labor, compensation or self-recrimination can bring us into God's will.

Are you missing fellowship with Jesus Christ? Are you living with unconfessed sin? Confess your sin to God. His is faithful and just to forgive you and to renew in you the joy of walking with Jesus Christ.

this was taken from chapter 5 of "Songs that touch the heart: selected Psalms" by: John White