The Need for a Heart Change
“Create in me a clean heart oh God, and renew a right spirit within me….
Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Psalms 51:10)
David penned this Psalm after the greatest crisis of his life. In his inspired diary and journal known as Psalm 51, he relives the disaster of having an affair with Bathsheba and the planned murder of her husband Uriah so it would never be disclosed that King David slept with his wife and she was pregnant.
The events that David refers to are in 2 Samuel 11. For 9 months to a year David kept his scandalous events concealed. As far as he was concerned, no one else would ever know the dark and evil scheme of his double life that I am sure he believed, at least in part, that he got away with. David actually refers to how he felt as he hid his unmentionable deeds in Psalms 32:3-4 “When I kept silent my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.”
David’s fantasy-world of silent lies comes to a screeching halt when Nathan the Prophet shows up at his royal doorstep and confronts David with his sin (2 Samuel12). In Nathan’s eloquent and forceful way, he reveals David’s entire scheme of betrayal, murder, and adultery and says “you are the man”!
David was so convicted and exposed that his response was reduced to 6 regretful words: “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13).
Thankfully, David does not try to shift the blame or deflect the accusation of his rebellious crime to anyone but himself. He completely owns his dark behavior and agrees with the prophet that “he has sinned against the Lord.” As fast as David repents, Nathan assures him that “God has forgiven his sin and will not take his life”, however, he also states that the consequences of his ill-fated actions will follow him the rest of his life; “the sword will never leave your house.”
Not long after this, God takes the life of their infant son as a consequence, but then blesses Bathsheba and David with their new infant son, Solomon, that God “dearly loved”. It was then that David wrote Psalms 51:1-19 because David would never shake these events from his mind. When he cries out “create in me a clean heart oh God and renew a right spirit within me” it appears like David would never trust himself again. He was a broken man now and would never want to relive the horrific choices of his past.
David was all too familiar with his sinful bent and past vices, so his only safe assurance to never go back there was to appeal to the only One who could re-create anything by crying out for the Lord to “create within him a clean heart and renewed spirit”.
It is safe to say that the highest percentage of those reading this right now have never slid down the slippery slope of rebellion at the depth and speed in which David found himself. That said, David’s prayer for a clean heart applies to all of us. Time and time again when we find ourselves in barren and broken places, as Christians, we can pray immediately. Whether it is a whisper under our breath or a cry when we are flat on our face, we can plead for God to “create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us.”
This story of David shows us that we can never drift away or sin enough that our Father’s hand of grace cannot reach for us. In the words of Corrie Ten Boom, “there is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”
Pastor Bill Gallagher