God's at the End of a One Way Street
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit with in. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” —Psalm 51:10, 12, NIV.
Of all the psalms that David wrote, Psalm 51 is one of the best known. The occasion was David’s encounter with Nathan, the prophet. The king had stayed home from battle, and while he was not employed at what kings were supposed to doing, he saw Bathsheba and coveted her. David’s yielding to temptation caused him not only to commit adultery, but to arrange for the murder of Bathsheba’s husband when she told David she was carrying his child.
David, confronted by Nathan, confessed his sin. Psalm 51 is his expression of remorse and his plea to God for forgiveness and restoration. The human casualties in this drama took second place to the damage that David’s sins had caused to his relationship with the Lord. David writes: “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” (vs. 4).
In the end, all sin is committed against God. David knew that what he was asking for could only come through his sincere repentance, which is why he also described what that looks like: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (vs. 17).
No amount of self-help, or turning over a new leaf, or beating up on oneself for lapses in judgment can bring back the joy, restore the purity, lift the battered spirit weighted down by sin. Band-aids don’t heal.
Only God heals, and he does that in response to the repentant heart—every time.