Psalm 51 is probably one of the more familiar Psalms in the Bible. Many of us can sing portions of it, as it’s been written into the popular worship chorus, “Create in Me a Clean Heart”. When we study the scriptures, we also know that this is the psalm that David wrote after the prophet Nathan confronted him about his sin with Bathsheba. It’s David’s heartfelt confession of sin and a pleading with God to make him clean and new again.
As I’ve been reading and praying over this psalm, I’ve come to the conclusion that it may not only be about confession of sins. In a broader sense, perhaps it’s about just coming to God in our brokenness, no matter what that brokenness may be.
Sometimes in life busyness can take us to the same place of brokenness as having un-confessed sins. We become tired, worn out, and empty, as we realize that we’ve been trying to do too many things on our own terms and in our own strength. These ‘things or sacrifices’ may even be ‘good things that we’re doing for God’, but in the end we become depleted and broken and then wonder why.
Verses 16 and 17 really challenged me in this psalm: “You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”
How often do I get busy doing things for God and ‘make sacrifices in His name’? All the while being too busy to sit at His feet, to listen and to learn HIS way of doing things. What He really wants from me is honesty (v.6), obedience (v.12), and a spirit that is broken before Him (v.17). When I finally get to the end of myself and I’m willing to listen and sit before Him in all my brokenness and repentance, then He will restore, renew, and fill my life with joy once again. In that place of acceptance, obedience, and love, I am able to hear what HE wants me to do with the days that He is giving me.