The Cry of a Heart // Psalm 51

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Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

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.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. 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.

Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
— Psalm 51

Ever read a verse and fill instantly convicted and deeply challenged? I did reading this psalm! Verse 17, in particular, struck a chord in my spirit.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

David is penning these words on the heels of a great failure. At one time his heart was incredibly sensitive to the things of God, but over time he has drifted from this place and now finds himself broken, after many months of refusing to repent.

David mourns the sin committed and pleads with God to forgive him--to show him grace. His heart is truly broken and his spirit crushed by what he has done. He took a while to get there but it shows us the attitude we must all have to our sin.

I believe that having this kind of heart--one that breaks at the sorrow of sin and quickly asks for forgiveness--is one of the most necessary things you or I could carry with us daily. If we can be the kind of people sensitive enough to know when we've failed and can humble ourselves before God to repent, there's no bounds to how God will use us for His purposes. Humility is the kind of thing God loves to respond to and use.

Carrying a broken heart daily is incredibly valuable and here's why. Matthew Henry shares this perspective about the broken heart,

"His heart is broken, but in necessary humiliation and sorrow for sin. It is a heart breaking with itself, and breaking from its sin; it is a heart pliable to the word of God, and patient under the rod of God, a heart subdued and brought into obedience; it is a heart that is tender, like Josiah’s, and trembles at God’s word. Oh that there were such a heart in us! How graciously God is pleased to accept of this."

Carrying this same spirit every day is a walk of humility. It's a heart that recognizes sin and mourns it. It's a heart that is open and teachable. It's a heart that is patient in the correction. It's a heart that is tender.

Who wouldn't want that kind of heart? I know I CRAVE it! Having read this Psalm and felt the nudging of the Holy Spirit to respond, my prayer moving forward is that my heart would become more like this each day. That it would soften and tender towards the things of God. That it would feel sorrow for anything contrary to God; eager to repent at it's misleading.

Will you pray for this same heart?

Some of you reading this can sense the Holy Spirit convicting your heart towards repentance. Don't hesitate as David did; confess your sin with a crushed heart and lay it all out for God. He has both the power and desire to free you of your guilt and shame; to wipe the slate clean and make you white as snow.

If there isn't a sin poking to be confessed, carry this attitude with you daily. Ask God to help you be sensitive to your failings; that even if a negative thought crosses your mind you would be sensitive enough to the Holy Spirit to immediately repent.

Just as David repented from a great failure and went on to continue great works in God's name, you are still a vessel God can and wants to use. 

Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.
— Psalm 51:16-17 (MSG)