Reading Psalm 51 again and again this morning.
"To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. 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...
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 51:1-10, 17-19 ESV
The picture of repentance and hope is amazing. I marvel at it. David had an understanding of grace and mercy. He saw that it needed a sacrificial system. Zion needed strong walls so that the altars would be right altars.
I don't know about you but I repent regularly. The word doesn't mean to be sorry and beat our breast. It means we turn to God and communicate. Jesus is my sacrifice. He is my only sacrifice.
As the King David saw the importance of the walls. Why does he mention them of all things in this Psalm? The walls were a continual community project. They always needed repair and upkeep. The walls meant that the temple was safe. The strength of the walls kept bulls on the altar.
Is grace taught? Where is it taught? What will keep Jesus' work on the cross preached? What are our walls and how can we strengthen them?
If no one knows that Jesus paid the price people will just be beating their breast and have no way to be cleansed. They will do what we did before Jesus came into our life. They will cover themselves with fig leaves. They will add sin to sin and sink into despair or pile on as many good works as possible to balance a scale that can never be balanced.
Do you have a Bible study or a Church or a place where the message is made known? Reason with God He will make your scarlet heart white as snow and then build the walls of the place that taught you how to do that. Build up the places that teach other how to do that.
David ends the Psalm this way for a reason. Me. Me. Me. Can't be the end of our thinking. A cleansed heart shifts to the needs of others. It contributes to the strengthening of what helps others. It starts to say, 'Hey, That wall has a crack. I'll get some mortar and you bring some bricks and let's get to work.'