Life has many distractions that disrupt our relationship with God. Our feelings get offended. We focus on the offense, holding on to the hurt or bitterness. We say or do something that offends others. The heart slowly becomes hardened. Our relationship with God becomes distant. How can we recover that relationship when life is a mess?
God provides a way for us to get to the heart of the matter.
Psalm 51 shows us five heart postures to grow closer to God.
Begin with a needy heart.
David’s first sentence of the prayer acknowledged God’s characteristics and his need to confess his heart condition. Because of God’s mercy, unfailing love, and compassion, he approached God for forgiveness of his sin with a needy heart.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. vs. 1-2.
Position yourself with a submissive heart.
David humbly admitted his sin, not making excuses for it or blaming anyone else. He honestly submitted his heart to God.
For I know my transgression, and my sin is always before me. vs.3.
David continued to seek God, knowing that sin was a barrier in his heart.
Pride didn’t justify the sin. The posture of his heart became humble and submissive to the Lord. Through confessing the sin, he put himself in the position for the internal heart cleansing. David was confident that God would do it. In biblical times, hyssop was used for purification acts for ritual cleansing by priests.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. vs. 7.
Yield to God with an obedient heart.
David’s relationship with God had been broken. Now he sought restoration of that precious relationship. He longed for the previous joy. With an obedient heart, he no longer avoided the issue, but prayed for restoration.
Do not cast me from your presence or take you Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. v.11
Cultivate an expectant heart.
Once David’s relationship with God was restored, he became expectant that God would use him again, in spite of the past sin. He received forgiveness and moved forward. The sin didn’t define him. God continued to use David.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. vs. 13.
Rejoice with a restored heart.
No longer restless from the burden of unconfessed sin, David praised God for the restoration of relationship. The joy had returned.
O Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it…The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you do not despise. vs. 15 -17.
God extends the grace of forgiveness to all of us. It begins with the recognition of our sin and a needy heart.
Psalm 51 shows us how to draw near to God through honest admission of sin, receiving God’s forgiveness, and the renewal of the joy of salvation.
Even in the messiness of life, God provides hope and heart restoration.