Clean Heart

March 5, 2017   Psalm 51Clean Heart 

 

    This is the first Sunday of Lent and I wanted to bring a message along with the season we are in.  What is Lent?   Lent comes from a English word that means spring.  In the 7th century it was considered a time of 40 days in honor of the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness.  It was a time of going without things and of giving and a time of devotion.   Lent is the time to humble ourselves and to draw near to the Lord.  Typically Christians give up something during the time of lent.   Some would argue that lent is not in the bible.   The word is not mentioned in my 5-volume dictionary.

    Some would say giving up something for lent is not biblical.  Those that would say lent is not the point would say the point is that God wants our heart.  Folks give up ice cream for 40 days or movies for 40 days or some other thing that they like.  What God wants is your total heart.   We tend to make a big deal out of giving up something for a few days.  Would you willingly give up ice cream for the rest of your life if God ask you to?   Would you give up TV for the rest of your life if God ask you to?   Could you do that joyfully for the Lord?    You see it is not 40 days of me giving up something.  God wants me to give him my heart.  It is a pride issue.  It is a heart issue.   Is my heart clean?   Do I want Jesus to reign in my life or am I the one in the driver’s seat?      You see Jesus does not want to be the copilot.  Jesus wants to be the pilot.  He wants to be the CEO chief executive officer.  Who is running your life you or Jesus?  

   This is a really neat Psalm.     David hid his sin for about a year.   In other words God was not ruling in his heart.  Things did not go well with him while he was in sin.   If you are hiding sin in your heart God is not reigning in your heart.   If you want to be clean of sin you have to confess the sin.  If you sin against someone else, you have to go and own up to it to them and make it good.   We reap what we sow folks.  You cannot out maneuver God and you can’t hide from God.  A lot of folks have tried.    Sorry for those who want short cuts.   There aren’t any short cuts with God.  God does not bend his holiness.   He does not grade on the curve.   

   God was not pleased with David’s actions and David said my sin is always before me.  David tried to bury it but he could not.   Sin has to be dealt with.  You have to bring it out in the light.  If you really want to deal with it bring it out in the light.  The sin did not go away.    Well we cannot hide it from God.   We can’t hide anything from God.  David wanted to be clean from his sin in this psalm.   He is pleading with God.  It reminds me of Matthew 8 where we read when Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him.    A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”    Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.   This man wanted to be clean.  He wanted to be clean from his leprosy.   A lot of folks want to be clean on the outside.   Who wants to be clean on the inside?   David wanted to be clean in his heart.      Most people miss that.    

     In Psalm 51:2 David prays wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  In verse 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Verse 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  David wanted a deep cleaning.  In Matthew 23 Jesus told the religious leaders you clean the outside of the cup.   They looked pretty good on the outside but not so good inside. 

       It is believed that Psalm 32 is also a Psalm of David that he wrote as a result of his sin with Bathsheba.  Psalm 32 David writes blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.   When I kept silent my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.    For day and night your hand was heavy upon me, my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer Selah which means pause and think about that.   There is a cost when we seek to hide our sins.

     I suspect that David did not totally lift his head during that time and perhaps found it difficult to look at others eye to eye especially his troops.   Do you think he had trouble looking at his general Joab or Nathan the prophet?   I expect that all of us at one time or another had someone that we had trouble looking in the face or they had trouble looking directly at us.   It is good to have clean relationships.   I Corinthians 10:32 Do not cause anyone to stumble or in the KJ Give none offense whether the Jews, Greeks or the church of God.   Do not offend others.  

     Warren Wiersbe has a pretty neat outline of Psalm 51.    He titles the first 7 verses as cleanse me.  Get the dirt out of my body.   Get the cancer out of me.   David had transgressed God’s law by yielding to his fleshly desires.  David prays have mercy on me, blot out my transgressions and wash away my iniquity.   Cleanse me and wash me he prays in verse 7.    Hyssop was a shrub with stems on it and the priests would dip it into blood and sprinkle it on people for cleansing.  David wanted to be washed so that he would be clean before God and others.   David’s Sin

     Then David wanted to be restored.   David whole life was impacted by this sin.  David talked about his inner parts and in most part.   David is getting deep in his life and it reminds of Hebrews 4 where the word of God is sharper than a 2 edged sword and pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow.   This sin was deep in David’s life.  Sin had impacted him deeply.   David talks about his bones and his heart and his spirit all needed renewal.   David wanted joy and did not want God to take his Holy Spirit from him.   David said let the bones you have crushed rejoice.   Sin is very costly.   His bones were crushed.   He wanted God to give him a willing spirit.   Sin had virtually made David a basket case.   He was sick of his condition.   God brought him to the place where David was broken.   David saw how ugly his sin was.   David was no longer justifying his actions but was seeing his sin as God saw it.   It was a godly sorrow that brought repentance.   David broke out of his despair and depression.  It may have taken David a year to figure it out but he made it with God’s help.   For some folks it is a life time before they repent.  Many people never repent.   Many people never admit the truth.   It is a process for us because of our pride.  

    I read of a fairly serious car accident and one of the men in the accident refused medical help.  There is nothing wrong with me,” the man says.  “But sir, you’ve just been in a terrible car accident.   You’re bleeding and have some deep bruises.   There may be internal damage!”    “There’s nothing wrong with me he says!”   “At least have a doctor check you out, sir.    We have an ambulance right here – it wouldn’t take very long..”   “I told you, there’s nothing wrong with me!”   “But sir.”    Then the man walks away from the car accident.    His wife picks him up and drives him home.   Later he dies from internal bleeding.   What is going on inside of us is very important folks.  

   “There’s nothing wrong with me” can be a dangerous thing to say.   There are a lot of folks who are saying there is nothing wrong with me.   Inside I am OK.   That may be the worst thing they can say.   A Christian is someone who stands before God and says I am only right when I am right with you.   I am righteous only in Jesus.   I think sometimes we are guilty as Christians by saying Lord forgive me and we walk on our merry way.   I think we take sin too lightly. 

    I read this a couple of weeks ago, in II Chronicles 29.   Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years.  His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah.   He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done.     In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the Lord and repaired them.    He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said: “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary.  It is interesting that in the first month of the first year Hezekiah gets the house of the Lord in order.  It is right away.  This may have been many things to deal with but this was addressed right away in the first month. 

    Hezekiah continues our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him.    They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel.    Therefore, the anger of the Lord has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem; he has made them an object of dread and horror and scorn, as you can see with your own eyes.    This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity.    Now I intend to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us.    My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense.”

   Then the Levites arose the son of and the sons of and the son of and the sons of.   There were several of them.  These men gather their brothers.   In verse 15 we read When they had assembled their fellow Levites and consecrated themselves, they went in to purify the temple of the Lord, as the king had ordered, following the word of the Lord..   I get the feeling that there are quite a few Levites here.   There are a number of them and they dedicate themselves and consecrate themselves.  They cleanse themselves and separate themselves for the work of the Lord.   They purify the temple as the King commanded or ordered and followed the word of the Lord.  The king commanded it but deeper than that the Lord commanded it. 

   The attitude here is we are doing this because God wants it done.  In verse 16 the priests were also involved with the work.  It took them 8 days to get to the vestibule of the Lord and another 8 days to finish.  It took these men 16 days or half a month to cleanse and remove the trash and to get the utensils that had been taken out and to dedicate and cleanse and purify the temple.  The Priests and the Levites spent 16 days doing this.  Get the trash out and sanctify it and prepare things for sacrifice.   The song writer wrote we bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord.  The house needs to be clean.  We like clean dishes.   We want food that is clean.   We like a clean bed and house.  Do we want to be clean? 

    I think we at times say well the book says if we confess he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.   Well Lord if I sinned or anything cleanse me.   For some there is no brokenness, not really admitting their sin, and the only sorrow is that they got caught.    I don’t think God had this kind of confession in mind.   Confession and cleansing may not mean much to a lot of Christians.  We think a quick prayer is all we need.   I think we may cheapen the price Jesus paid for our salvation and cleansing.  Some people may not even mean it.   If it does not mean anything to the person confessing sin they may not get out much out of their confession.   If you are not sorry and do not connect with God I question how real any of it is and there is a good chance they are not cleansed. 

         In Psalm 51:2 David prays wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  In verse 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Verse 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  David wanted a deep cleaning.  It is like a deep cleaning of the carpet.   You want more than just the surface stuff.   It is more like we are going to vacuum it slowly and then shampoo it.   David wanted a right heart and pure motives.  He wanted a deep cleaning.   We would not want rats in our food or worms in our food.  We should treat sin in our life with the same kind of disgust.  We should hate sin in our life. God hates all sin.    David said create in me a clean heart.   Give me pure motives.