Pleasing God is the ultimate pleasure. david repents – Genuine repentance brings genuine life-change – psalm 51
Psalm 51-To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
Do you want to be right (“I want my rights – this is not fair – I deserve better!”) or do you want to be well (spiritually pleasing to God). David seems to finally sees with spiritual eyes why his sin really grieved him- because it hurt His Lord; it hurt God’s feelings. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God's own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin). “Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted.” (Ephesians 4:30 Amp; The Msg.) Sin hurts God and others and thus hurts us for we hurt the One Who loves us most and Whom we love most. It was not the consequences of sin that bothered him so much as it was the pain he caused his Lord, his first love, by hurting other people whom God loves so much that He sacrificed His only Son.
“You (Lord) are justified in Your sentence and faultless in Your judgment.” (V.4) “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.” (Hebrews 12:7) So David plea for mercy, is not so that God would not discipline Him. David never complained about God’s severe discipline for his sins. He never said “my punishment is more than I deserve.” He pleads for mercy for hurting His Lord and breaking His good commandments, for disobeying his good heavenly Father. And what he wants most of all is restored fellowship and intimacy with his Lord for that is what he lost in his willful sin.
He now wants to be clean from the inside out (v.6) – even the very “thoughts and intentions of the heart”. (Heb 4:12 – “exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes (motives) of the heart”).The closer we get to the Lord the more we see His holiness and our sinfulness. The great and godly saint, Paul, said near the end of his life: “Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1Timothy 1:15) Notice he didn’t say ‘I was’ but ‘I am’ the chief of sinners. Paul was so close to the Lord he could see more clearly God’s spotless holiness and, in comparison, his deep sinfulness. Lord have mercy on me a sinner is a good prayer and one we can pray all the way home.
Years ago I so grieved and quenched God’s Spirit that I could not feel His presence for days – I begged for mercy, not for no consequences, but that God in His mercy would let me experience His presence again. I had a stronghold of anger so I couldn’t see how wrong my anger was. A spiritual stronghold blinds us to our sin. (See 2 Cor. 10:3-5) When God’s presence returned, I like David, rejoiced as God restored the joy of His salvation, the joy of knowing Him and being His son– not just for forgiven sins or going to heaven – for even heaven won’t be a blessing without His presence, (Psalm 73:25) but for a renewed fellowship with the One Who is the very source of true joy and pleasure. “In Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11) And in the midst of my trials today, I, Like David, pray: “whatever it takes to get me right with You Lord please do it!” Pleasing God is the ultimate pleasure.
VV. 10—13 “Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a steadfast (persevering, willing) spirit within me.” David knew he couldn’t clean up his own heart, that he must call on the power of God to change him so that he could please God for in our natural man it is impossible. (Romans 7:14-8:8) Blessed are those who know they are spiritual paupers and need God. (Mt. 5:3)
VV. 2-12, 15 “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise.”- for your great mercy to me a sinner. So knowing God’s mercy, like David, we now pray differently – our deepest prayers are earnest pleadings to please our good Heavenly Father, not “Lord bless my business or my ministry or give me a happy life” for all these can be idols if they mean more to us than our Lord Himself and they can never satisfy our hearts. “He (God) also has planted eternity in men's hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun (in this life) but God alone can satisfy].” (Eccl. 3:11) God will brook no rivals. He will not be second to anyone or anything for He is a jealous God and Lover. “You shall have no other gods before or besides Me. You shall not bow down yourself to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God. (Ex. 20:3, 5)
V.17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.”
Contrition means we are remorseful (not guilty or self-condemning) over our sins even though God has forgiven us. As we remember our sins it keeps us mindful of how sin hurts our Lord, others and ourselves and thus makes us more desirous to obey Him.
V.16, 19 “You do not delight in burnt offering. Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness.” David knew that God did not want legalistic sacrifices, dutiful service to somehow try to earn God’s approval. Likewise God calls us to heartfelt love and obedience today: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies (our lives and all that we do) as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” “Love so amazing so divine demand our life our soul our all.”
Discussion Questions FOR APPLICATION OF GOD’S WORD
"Against You, You only, have I sinned and done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge." (Psalm 51:4) David never complained about God's severe discipline for his sin. Are you more concerned about the consequences of your sin (God's discipline, trials, etc.) than how your sin hurt the Lord and others? (Some thoughts that spring from being upset over God’s discipline might be: “This is not fair. I deserve better.”)
“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a steadfast (persevering) spirit within me.” (vv. 2, 10) 1 John 1:9 says the same – God, not only forgive me but change me, purify me so I will please You and honor You. David was saying in essence, “Lord, do whatever it takes to create in me a clean heart and an obedient spirit for pleasing You is the ultimate pleasure.” Are you willing to pray this prayer? Discuss your answer.
“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.” (v. 12) Have you lost the joy of God’s salvation? What do you think this means? What else brings you more joy? (See Psalm 73:25)
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25) It is in doing God’s Word, not in just hearing it, that we are blessed. What action will you take to apply these truths to your life?
Scripture memory verse: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)