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A Broken and a Contrite Heart
These, O God, You will not Despise!
Psalm 51*T and the Approach to it
It is not so much Spring Cleaning as Christ Cleansing which is Vital
and cannot be delayed, for it is always Seasonable
The Need for Pardon
The woeful wars, the tormented twisting of spirit and the haughty defiance of God, the surreptitious subterfuges and the incontinent thrust to glorify one's own name, the name of the human race or of some leader, all this has been considered in the preceding chapters. It is disgusting to the heart to see man so demean himself as to enter into competition with his Maker, a sort of gravely self-important Pinnochio of tormented heart if not fey ways, much of the time. Then he tortures, or condemns without warrant, whether in this country or that, feeling his own intestinal powers of judgment sufficient to put someone in prison for years, even though a perfectly plausible alternative interpretation of the evidence appears available.
This matter was
taken up with the government of this land, some time ago, in the Chika Honda
case*1A. It was put to them: WHY do you condemn, unless you have found the actual
discrepancy between the claim of this person and the evidence ? Is it a matter
of some facts of which one has not heard, or is it that there is some intestinal
assurance, not based on reason, almost as if a sort of gambling approach ? that to ME,
and to ME, say the assessing parties, it
appears that it is very unlikely this actually happened.
Is it prison for that ? Is it at all like this for those who review and decide ?
It is the principle which matters, just as is its application.
Now one does not KNOW if there were facts which have never come to light to the general public, but one does know that in the recent play, put on in Melbourne, one which attracted considerable evidence, and was in fact rather of a different genre, more like a play plus documentary of a particularly intimate kind, concerning Chika and the whole nature of this sort of justice and judgment, there was a considerable feeling that justice may indeed not have been done.
One also knows that when the Justice section of the Government was approached through its apparent head, that the QUESTION was this, Is there evidence to OVERTURN the claims of Chika, to SHOW them false, or is it an intestinal feeling, a matter of bowels if you will, of impact, of atmosphere or whatever, that is the GROUND of the condemnation whether by this or that section of the judicial process ?
The ANSWER received was a simple enumeration of the courts which had condemned her, and was one of the most unillustrious dodgings of the issue, or failures to face it at any rate, that one could well wish. So it appeared.
Now Australia, in May 2005, has one of its own citizens, Schapelle Corby, prima facie in much the same position in another country, the PM having publicly declared that there is considerable doubt about what actually occurred.
WHY were finger prints on the package of drugs allegedly intentionally imported by a guilty Australian, not checked ?
HOW can you possibly determine a case when a CRUCIAL piece of evidence is circumvented, and not even presented ? It is not for anyone without expert knowledge of the facts, to determine such issues, but it IS for anyone who loves justice at least to ask for a RELEVANT and RATIONAL answer to this question.
IF it comes out that it is as simple as it appears, then HOW on earth could judgment be given without miscarriage of justice, when such a matter was never resolved ? If it not quite as clear as finger-prints on a dagger, it is at least as initially relevant.
You CANNOT condemn someone and talk rightly and wisely of justice, if there are WILFUL deficiencies in the provision of evidence, or GLARING omissions in what is needed for conscientious determination. The desire to baulk others, to show one's national colours, to defeat subtlety and unmask criminals may be just; but its application must be just also.
If EVER one condemns the righteous, as may conceivably be so here, then what ? Then it would appear that this is morally a crime, if there is ANY way in which one could have avoided it: when it comes to defiling someone's life, the responsibility cannot be merely subjectivistic, but forced by facts unamenable to any other interpretation. If something else could well have happened, you cannot pin the fault on someone who may well be innocent, without becoming guilty of condemning what for all you know, is the innocent.
Does not justice wail if it be poked and prodded, its eyes shut or its ways brought into disrepute! Is it subservient to profit for the nation, or security ? Many may think so, but let them once be the victim of such misnamed justice, and what then ? It is here that faith in the God of all justice is vital, for when expediencies and policies and various cultural principles or preferences come into play - whether popular or not, it makes precisely no difference, then the result is something not justice, but a brew of ideas. To stew another in a brew, this is just what is condemned so wisely, in Isaiah 59, as shown below.
It is not at all necessary to INTEND injustice in order to perform it! Alas, it must be treated with supreme care, past all notional principle, in in terms so stark that none can quail or fail to commend, the manifest righteousness of the result.
"Justice is turned back,
And righteousness stands afar off;
For truth is fallen in the street,
And equity cannot enter.
"So truth fails,
And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.
Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him
That there was no justice.
"He saw that there was no man,
And wondered that there was no intercessor;
Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;
And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.
"For He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,
And was clad with zeal as a cloak.
"According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay,
Fury to His adversaries,
Recompense to His enemies;
The coastlands He will fully repay.
"So shall they fear
The name of the Lord from the west,
And His glory from the rising of the sun;
When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.
"The Redeemer will come to Zion,
And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,"
Says the Lord."
Whatever be the ultimate result in this matter, and whether just grounds for condemnation are ever found or not, the method so far, as with Chika in the case of our own nation, has yet to be vindicated. Prima facie, it does not look as if MAN is in his proper place, nor does he appear FEARFUL to the uttermost of presuming against the MAKER of all men, lest any harm or evil, whether by the process of law or against it, should ever be done. LOVE means putting oneself in the other's place, and doing precisely as one would wish it would be done to oneself. This is the Christian ethic, and it is impossible to do less and live in the truth.
Sins can be committed by all parties, but this is what God desires, a man of a poor and contrite spirit, who trembles at His word (Isaiah 66:2), and in all conscience, how can anyone being created, and a sinner, dream of being other!
In Psalm 51, we see how David, yes the KING, in his case intentionally in a time of wilful self-assertion and desire, had fallen into a climate of sin, though perhaps only for some weeks, concerning one matter, which marred his testimony as a God-loving and God-fearing man, a man of love of his brethren and nation, seeking in devoted and loving service at all times to praise God, bless his people and with consecrated courage, show God's wonder and kindness, glory and majesty.A
After David is confronted by the prophet Nathan (II Samuel 12), then we see the nature of his recreated spirit come to the fore, his sins depart like a multitude of grasshoppers being sprayed, the air cleared as by a hurricane in the midst of heavy smog and the heart exposed in poverty and passion, as it seeks the Lord. Now, depending only on Him and on His power to pardon according to the MULTITUDE of His tender mercies, and yes, to faith to grant a clearance better than that of any visa, a victory better than any in war, David seeks and finds grace. Thus his intimate friendship with the Lord is restored. If there is to be discipline, that is necessary and normal; but there is pardon and renewed fellowship.
Without such things, man is merely in line to be a soiled programmee, a sin squelched subject, defiled in his image of God relationship, like an airbus with broken wheels, looking to land, or with broken wings, trying to fly. He becomes arrogant in self-assurance, or weak in self-abasement, but does not meet the surgeon of the soul, the physician of the heart, the God of his creation, for to be poor in spirit is the other side of repentance, and to sinners, it is a perpetual obligation, one which this Psalm shows to be as NATURAL as necessary, and as beautiful as beneficial.
Turning to this famed Psalm 51, we then see the actual operation of repentance, of faith when one falls, one of the man of God brought into alignment after a horrible accident, one of exuberance in the presence of the power to pardon, of humiliation undisguised and of holiness desired with expectation because of the lovingkindness of the Lord, who does not desire the death of the wicked, but that he should turn, turn to the Lord, who cries to him, TURN, for He desires this, that He may abundantly pardon (Ezekiel 33:11, Isaiah 55).
First we consider the preliminaries, then the potency of the power of God to pardon, and the poverty of spirit in which man must live.
How beautiful is Isaiah 66:2ff., in this as normal CONSISTENT character of the word of God:
" 'Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.
Where is the house that you will build Me?
And where is the place of My rest?
For all those things My hand has made,
And all those things exist,'
Says the Lord.
" 'But on this one will I look:
On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
And who trembles at My word.'"
You see just this emphasis in the Sermon on the Mount, shown in Matthew 5:
"Blessed are the POOR IN SPIRIT, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Here is a beatitude which is more than, though not less than one of ATTITUDE.
Thus being persecuted for righteousness' sake is one of the other beatitudes given then; and this means that the poverty of spirit is NOT ONLY one of seeing one's own sin, but seeing it as before GOD, for whose sake one is prepared even if need be, to SUFFER. This involves faith, for without the shedding of blood there is no redemption, and hence no life at all (Hebrews 9), and without the Messiah crucified, there is no way, for this is the only and the divinely chosen way of our pardon, and to ignore it is to insist on one's own ways, or inventions, or those of one's culture, which so far from being poor in spirit, is hot, like scalding porridge on the fingers, hot in fleshly passion.
It is for this reason that we have to consider Acts 4:11-12, for there is NO OTHER NAME under heaven given among men by which they MUST be saved.
To ignore the salvation of God, true from first to last (Barbs... 17, TMR Ch. 3, Joyful Jottings 22-25), is to ignore God who insists that non believing in His Messiah, is a work of darkness which abides in His wrath.
What, has God for millenia gone to all the trouble of parading His program, presenting His Son, ordaining His sufferings, revealing the ransom He achieved and displaying the preciousness of His love in order to ignore it, or to allow mankind to ignore it, which has
no equal in evidence,
no comparable case for its challenge,
no other verification to compete with it,
nor even anything else so much as valid to human thought,
that it might come by it and smile as it passes, saluting*1!
Far from it: God has spoken and attested and there is no comparison, no parallel, no majesty, no sovereignty, no presentation and no remedy, there is nothing with so much as a pretext to stand, for it is all fallen, irrevocably and comprises a morass of lostness to mirror the estate of man, before God; for even his own self-made religions are with him, without hope. It is as Paul put it in Ephesians 2:12: "without hope and without God in the world." Such, the apostle indicates to the entire Gentile world, is their condition when without Jesus Christ, nor is the condition of the Jewish rejection of Christ any better (Romans 10:1ff., Errors).
In the light of the Bible, reason and the action of God, it follows that to choose another religion or faith or messiah or non-messiah, and expect God to put up with that defiled substitute, that mockery of reason and faith alike, is like expecting a man, to whom a girl is affianced, to ignore the fact that she nightly populates the bed of another. It is in such terms, infamy; and it is treated like it (Luke 13, John 6, 3:36). To pretend otherwise helps no one, any more than ignoring lung cancer. For a time, it may make for social harmony; but in the end, it is for anguish all but unthinkable, as the cancer takes control. Treatment is essential, and restoration to health where it may be found, in the mercy of God.
But let us attend to Isaiah 66, concerning attitude and spiritual action towards the true God of creation, and see what the script divine has to say here.
Having passed from the individual, we now turn to the national as so often (for example in Ezekiel 36-37, as shown in SMR Appendix A), where the things of the heart occur on the grand scale.
the denunciations of Isaiah 59,
trumpeting a time of catastrophe for Israel, in the short term,
the divine charge for which poverty of spirit
and a humble and a contrite heart are the beginnings of response, and
the annunciation of the final triumphant coming of the Messiah
in judgment, as seen in the end of that chapter (59:18-21, cf. Isaiah 11, Psalm 2),
the provisions for the proclamation of pardon to faith,
the ascriptions of SIN BEARING realism to the tortures of the Messiah,
not inflicted on others, as with so many earthly sovereigns,
but suffered in love to show mercy that He might be just
and the justifier of the one who believes in Jesus
(Isaiah 52:12-53:12, Romans 3:23-27)
in the never changing Gospel message from eternity to the temporality and sin of man,
we come to a vast change.
Isaiah 66 performs in word what the heart must earlier be prompted to seek. IF the Messiah is to come to bear sin, what THEN of animal sacrifice ?
The answer is as sharp as it is clear.
NO MORE ANIMAL sacrifice! (Isaiah 66:3). That is the work of God when the Messiah is pierced (Zechariah 12:10). It is to the poor in spirit, to those of a contrite heart that the Lord is looking, that they MIGHT receive Him in repentant realism, and horrified marvelling at His personal coming for such a task as that.
Animal sacrifice after that ? Of course not. If the point is not taken in heart, then it is provided in hearth.
Thus, even the Temple of the Jews, given a generation for reflection, was destroyed; and why should it not be, for it was not only foretold by Christ (Luke 19:42ff., Matthew 24:1ff.), but the insistence on pursuing a religion in which the centre-piece, the Messiah, dead by the prior prophecy of God (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), at a precise time in history which admits of no doubt in one of the most amazing arithmetic and historic prophecies of all ages. To ignore all of these things, the verified, vindicated word of God, so long attested before, and now in its culmination, showing the sublime with supreme knowledge, can meet with nothing but judgment; and it did. The provision was predicted, the devastation upon its rejection was predicted.
Thus Jerusalem itself was destroyed as given in the divine prognosis from the lips of the Lord Himself. Some 40 years after His murder, many were murdered, or if you prefer, slain by Roman power. No long would the brand of piety which assassinated Christ be able to be content with itself, nor the tongues which shrieked, 'Blasphemy!' at Christ, for telling them the truth (Mark 14:60ff.), from their central city any more repeat it.
They now, they themselves, were aliens, soon not only from their own city, but their own land. This is not only sad history, but the sad briefing for the Gentiles for the things to come to their own alienated world, whether they listen, or forbear.
It was all predicted, prescribed and inscribed on the very stones, torn down as Christ foretold. Similarly clear is the coming judgment on this world.
III ALL THE WORLD
If then such a rejection met with judgment then, does the Gentile world fondly imagine that they are superior, as their countless pogroms, inquisitions, al Qaeda persecutions, intifadeh romps into multiple murder and partial assassination of the young, might seem to suggest ? How ? On what grounds could such a marvellous proposition be imagined ?
Do the Gentiles then lack eyes ? are those a uniquely Jewish provision ? or ears that they might hear, or minds that they might reflect ? Are the Jews as a nation, are these - who as individuals and in thousands helped at the first to form the Christian Church with the apostles - alone to be seen as blind (Romans 11:25), when the nations to whom in the loving grace of God, the Gospel has gone, treat it as Israel treated Christ, with a mounting contempt!
On what grounds should such a differentiation be made, then! Is it because of some unknown and unheard of species of 'justice'! Nay, it is its contrary. Hence the world in its revulsion from Christ, taking hold in many nations, its system, setting and its evil works are indeed to be burnt up (II Peter 3:10ff.), and a time of INTERNATIONAL TRIBULATION will provide adequate commentary on the idea that Jews or Israel are to be the butt, and some superior Gentile race, the predators and accusers! It is coming, as Christ pointed out, such that there would be no comparable turmoil before it (Matthew 24:21, cf. Daniel 12).
What would you expect ? The Jews as a nation have had their lashings, and are the Gentiles who equally deride, derogate, defile or dismiss Christ to have some superior place before the God of all justice!
Can we not read Micah 7, or Isaiah 66:14-16, just read them and SEE!
God disenabled the temple, which no more was fitting for animal sacrifice since HE HIMSELF (Hosea 13:14) had provided the ultimate and eternal redemption in the person of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ as foretold (Psalm 2, Isaiah 52-53). No more, now, would Israel be ABLE to use the Temple as if Christ and His fulfilment had not already come!
The means of ignoring, by mere continuance in the preliminaries was most manifestly removed, just as it had been built when it was needed, so now destroyed, when like a child's room, it was no longer fitting. If even more atrocious blasphemy were to be committed on this site, if possible, and it was with the Mosque RIGHT THERE, then this too was irony at its height, the Jews almost being mocked, in that a foolish religion was taking the very place where they had profaned the realities and kept the form, crucifying their King and imagining His temple could then be still sanctified! Such was the tenor of the predictions for their days of unbelief, and it became all but pervasive (cf. Deuteronomy 32:21-23).
By divine proposition and imposition alike, then, of animal sacrifice there would now be NONE; for it is now repugnant as the Lord there shows in Isaiah 66. It is now pointless, He attests, as if one were to break a dog's neck. God has PAID Himself, covering all who shall ever believe (Isaiah 53:1,10, Romans 8:32), who symbolically place their hands at the promptings of their hearts, on the head of the Messiah, and confess and claim His cover (cf. II Corinthians 5:17ff.).
Indeed, in this same Isaiah 66, God indicates that He will proceed to a now repentant people, the remnant of His nation of old, of whom He has forecast all these things times almost without number, and act for their deliverance. Though they were for long to be scattered as Ezekiel, Hosea, Leviticus show, they were at last to be regathered, as inscribed from Deuteronomy 30-32.
As to their blindness, it is to disappear (Romans 11:25ff.), though its season has been long. Yes, suddenly their nation, it was foretold, would be restored, and who has heard of such a thing (Isaiah 66:8ff.).!
It was so then, but since May 1948, by broadcast), this prediction*2 has been fulfilled so that you and I have both heard of such a thing, if we watch the international developments with even a cursory interest. Meanwhile, many have been those 'kings' who have paid and helped (Isaiah 66:12, 49:23), such as Germany (in reparation) and USA (in aid). It is all fulfilled as written; it always is.
Let us then see something of these forecasts from Isaiah, before we pass from these vast national and international predictions, so precisely fulfilled already in so much in our time, and consider the individual side of things further.
"He who kills a bull is as if he slays a man;
He who sacrifices a lamb, as if he breaks a dog’s neck;
He who offers a grain offering, as if he offers swine’s blood;
He who burns incense, as if he blesses an idol.
"Just as they have chosen their own ways,
And their soul delights in their abominations,
So will I choose their delusions,
And bring their fears on them;
Because, when I called, no one answered,
When I spoke they did not hear;
But they did evil before My eyes,
And chose that in which I do not delight.
"Hear the word of the Lord,
You who tremble at His word:
'Your brethren who hated you,
Who cast you out for My name’s sake, said,
Let the Lord be glorified,
That we may see your joy.
But they shall be ashamed.'
"The sound of noise from the city!
A voice from the temple!
The voice of the Lord,
Who fully repays His enemies!
"Before she was in labor, she gave birth;
Before her pain came,
She delivered a male child.
"Who has heard such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day?
Or shall a nation be born at once?
For as soon as Zion was in labor,
She gave birth to her children.
" 'Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery ?' says the Lord.
Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?' says your God.
"Rejoice with Jerusalem,
And be glad with her, all you who love her;
Rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her;
That you may feed and be satisfied
With the consolation of her bosom,
That you may drink deeply and be delighted
With the abundance of her glory."
Micah 7 is rich in just the same scenario of divine solace, and the fulfilment of the pardon allocation which is always present to the one of a humble and contrite heart, the poor in spirit*3, who seeks what God has provided, instead of providing what God does not seek, and what is that ? It is the effrontery of imagining that you could ever satisfy the requirements of One in perfect purity, or yourself atone for your sins, the perfect eminence of pride and the abyss of judgment.
With such a Gentile parallel as we have noted, coming with no small derogation of Israel, now gaining a new kind of negative momentum with the United Nations (cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 11), we find but Jew and Gentile alike. Where this same Christ who has been the criterion and the access to God, for one, it is so also for all (cf. Isaiah 42:6, 49:6). It is He who remains the way home for any. It was by faith in Him, then planned and predicted to come, that David had his iniquities pardoned (foreseeing Him as in his divinely inspired predictions in Psalm 2, 16, 22, 40, 55, 72, 110, for example - see Jottings 22-25); and it is so now for the Gentile as well, by this same Messiah now come.
Just as God promised Abraham, so it is, His 'seed' or one of his descendants (in fact through Mary) would indeed be God Almighty on earth (Isaiah 9:6, Psalm 45, Zechariah 12:10), and it was He who would be David's Lord, though a descendant (Psalm 110). It is He who now is and remains the sole authorised, established, authenticated way to pardon and peace with God.
What then, if the LORD chooses to come, as Lord He has come, then it is for us to go to H8im. To this Lord all must come, or go from the very presence of God. So whether with David, his sins remitted as in Psalm 32, acquitted, imputed not to him but to the Messiah (Psalm 40, Isaiah 53), or with any Gentile today, it is the same Lord, with the same ground for pardon, the same Prince of peace to procure it, who now HAS procured it, the same sacrificial order of transfer from sinner to the Lord Himself, and the same clearing house that not only forgives but purges.
In Psalm 51, we see this time from the heart of the royal king of Israel, the repentance and the realism needed, as God's mercy is sought on the basis of His own action, mercy and covenantal faithfulness; and since the Lord who does not change, has now confirmed it in the most magnificent way, the highway home as He promised to do, for all (Isaiah 49:6), it must be followed.
Must ? More than must. If an iron filing could think, it would be much like that when it came near the magnet: it is drawn, it is to be received, and if its heart is stirred, and it does not stick to its position in derisive or stubborn determination, its place is now assured.
Once found, it is never lost as David also showed (Psalm 17 shows the certain expectation of being with God when this life has passed, just as Christ confirmed the same as the Good Shepherd in John 10:9,27-28, when He came, one God of one way).
Since sin before God has been conspicuous in our review so far, now let pardon from God be no less traced in what follows; for if God convicts, it is not for mere splendour, but in a desire that all might be saved by Him who is able to save to the uttermost, Jesus Christ, the Messiah (I Timothy 2, Ezekiel 33:11, Colossians 1:19ff.).
THE PARDON PARADED IN PSALM 51
PSALM 51, the VIDEO of VICE EXPUNGED and LIFE ALIGNED
I THE SHAMELESS INFATUATION
David, at a time many kings made war (not always wisely), was at home, glorious days behind him, and he saw with the eyes of lust. He planned with the mind of lust and he exposed a man to deliberate danger with the head of criminality, then married his wife. More than this, he deliberately planned to cover up his adultery.
Met after this intense but very brief wickedness, by the prophet Nathan, David was told a parable about the rich man of many animals, who insisted on grabbing the little lamb for some feast, the pet being all the poor man had. That man shall die! declared David when told of this event. YOU are the man! said the prophet. This you find in II Samuel 11-12, among the saddest in the Bible.
Had not David replaced Saul, in his wickedness, ambition and waywardness ? Had not Eli's sons been replaced by Samuel, when the old priest died, because of their wickedness ? Now was David, anointed, to engage in his own visit to some alien life ? In that setting, not at all. He was plagued in his family in multiple ways, including the revolt by his own best loved son, Absalom, one put down, with what David most feared, the death of the rebel.
David's response to this is among the most tender of heart-broken cries:
"O my son, Absalom - my son, Absalom -
if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!"
Here was the love which, vast in Christ, DID die for us, He taking the place of believers so that they might not die, but live forever, so granting to the Divine Father's heart, this joy in their eternal restoration.
Caught however in sin, fouled but forgiven, King David suffered in this and in many more ways, in the family setting. Thus there was also a shocking rape by one of his sons of a half-sister, beguiling her with false pretences as if sick, so abusing mercy as well. Then followed the murder of that son by another - in fact by Absalom; and there was the death of David’s child following his adultery. So readily, does sin reap its crops. Man sows, sin reaps, and God judges.
When therefore you resolve to sin - and may heaven help you not to deliberately undertake any such course - realise the perils of influencing others and the ricochet as it skims on the surface and goes on to hit someone else, as well as yourself.
Deliberate pursuit of holiness is the course (II Corinthians 7:1); and so far from being flat and boring, it is enlivening and great, because God is more exhilarating than all the companies of evil with their flat follies and buoyed up pretences; and when you love Him, there are bands more powerful than any bonds that embrace the prisoner, and they are a drawing sort of a bond, not a crushing one. Such is love. Such is John 14:21-23.
II SIN SO BRAZEN, CAN IT BE FORGIVEN ?
CAN sin however, such as David committed, complex and contrived, deliberate and continued over perhaps weeks, can this be forgiven ? If there is a humble and a contrite heart, if there is repentance so that the folly is hated and cast aside, if the lesson is taken, why then of course, the soul that sins can be atoned for, and his way covered. Christ came into this world died to save sinners (I Tim. 1:15, 2:5-6).
Wonderful as this is, it does not mean there will be no discipline (Hebrews 12:5-12), for this as a father or mother should know, is necessary IF you love your child. Foolish dreams of another world where neither goodness nor mercy nor truth nor virtue matter are best interrupted at an early day. Reality may be challenging, the path of godliness inclined upwards: but it is savoury, spiritual and most merciful.
Thus we find the words of Psalm 103 comforting - for sin is put by such cover as this, as far as the East is from the West, and that proceeds to infinity; but in Psalm 51, we find the very heart of David, the man for whom such a sin was so exceptional as to form a sort of wart on his soul, or even a cancer, so that he is moved to the depths. It is a cleansed, purged and changed man who comes in acute horror at himself and his life, horrified that he has grieved God, and with passion imploring Him for pardon.
Thus we find him in this Psalm 51.
III THE EXEGESIS OF THE BROKEN HEART
In Psalm 51, we find
A) the cry to God for mercy, blotting out, washing (1-2). The multitude of the Lord's tender mercies is greater than the sins of David, his declivities and deficiencies which are to him like the hairs of his head, though his godly walk and faith, characteristically, had him after the mould of a man after God's own heart. Such do you see in word of it below, while I Samuel 13:14 shows us Saul's departure from the crown:
"Withhold not Your tender mercies from me, O LORD:
let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.
"For innumerable evils have compassed me about:
my iniquities have taken hold on me,
so that I am not able to look up;
they are more than the hairs of my head: therefore my heart fails me.
"Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me."
David in FAITH seeks for his sins to be simply BLOTTED out (as in Colossians 2:14), so that the Lord does not impute iniquity to him (as in Psalm 32, and Romans 4:25-5:1, and 3:23ff.); for although the sacrificial pictures of the coming Messiah (as in Psalm 2, 16, 22, 40, 49) were not effective in themselves, the God who appointed them to depict the coming sacrifice to end all sacrifice (Isaiah 53,66) is always effective.
It is in Himself that lies the pardoning power. It is in His heart that rests the desire for being just in judgment, but no less the justifier of the One who believes in Him, Himself the sacrifice that atones and covers. That, it was even in the Messiah to come, now long since come, at the Danielic date foretold (as in Daniel 9:24-27). That is the fulness of time to which Paul refers in Galatians 4, and it was some 483 years that this advance prediction covered, to reach so sublime an end, amid the infamies of man, and the nobilities of God.
There has always been one unchanging God and from first to the very judgment, He has one way of absolving and overcoming, ransoming and redeeming, whether as foreseen in Genesis 3:15 in the protevangelium, or in the consummation at Calvary, authenticated in the resurrection, and ever since in the words of Christ; for although more than a prophet, the very Son of the living God, He was not less, and all HIS words have come to pass, though the millenia pass, even to the slightest*4.
Foothills and crest alike at Calvary and the resurrection, all are in place as in the architect's draft, now the house of faith itself.
Not the least, but near the very top of all, is this word of pardon by blotting out, which He secured HIMSELF in the incarnation, fulfilling Hosea 13:14 gloriously.
B) the decisive acknowledgement of its depth and putridity (3-4).
David sees that in the last analysis, it is against the Maker and Owner of all
things that he has sinned,
that sin has its origin in the law of God and its rebuttal and remedy in the love of God,
that hence it is to Him that he must bring his case.
"Against You, You only have I sinned and done this evil in Your sight..."
Thus when God shows mercy, He will be just, for it is His own hurt and sin against His own property and love that has been committed. At the ultimate, all appeal, all hurt, all wrong comes to the One who made all, legislates for all, cares for all and regards what is done to al. Therefore, in justifying freely (as in Psalm 32), God is giving what it is His to give.
C) his reflection on his own nature and the desire of the God of truth and life (5-6).
Unlike the pearly pretences of many, the case is that man is a sinner from birth, not really strangling his cries in case he wakes his mother.
"Behold I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me." No illusions of innocency beguile David's straight soul, for if it grew a sudden kink, it has no room for it. Man is born in sin, and if some new sins arise with growth in strength, rapacity or pride, these do not begin, but merely carry the tarry torch of darkened and smoggy light.
When you realise your own condition: it is only then you have
i) vision of what you need to repent of, the sin of life without God, without His governing, guiding, gracious presence as your own Lord and God (as Thomas at last realised Christ to be - John 20),and
ii) sense that not only is your heart in need of an entire make-over, but
iii) sight of wisdom needed to be poured into the restored heart, that it might know God and His ways!
redeemed at this time, is challenged to the depths
by his wilful folly and is taken to his foundations.
D) the purge that restores, and the cover that atones (7-9).
Hyssop, that small plant denoted by Moses for sprinkling blood on the doors of their homes, the night before the Exodus, as showing them a people covered by the blood of sacrifice in those national dealings, and very possibly what Moses used when sprinkling the book and the people, in the events of Exodus 24, at the time of the divine appearance to the elders, is evidently apt for applying blood dextrously.
The sprinkling is nothing massive, but intimate; and its symbol is a total coverage, just as was the concept in John 13 foot washing, which expressly stood for the cover of the whole body. It is the intent that counts.
Thus David is in effect asking the Lord to cover him completely, intimately, in detail, watchfully, so that the application of the blood, meaning the atoning sacrificial death, draws up and off all the sin, leaving nothing rife, in it own right, unruly, for itself.
This in effect is to 'wash' him, for it is a cover of a life for a life, a life of perfect purity, infinite in its value, beauty and wonder, which absorbs the penalty, the guilt and the force of his sin, leaving him whiter than snow.
the recreated heart and its joy, relief and delight,
and the sheer thrust to give testimony of this forgiving and most merciful God (10-15).
There is now need for a creation. What is the part ? It is a CLEAN HEART, and such was his defilement by voluntary sin that this needs new creation, not just adjustment. His vagaries on the sin trail have required that even his spirit needs renewal, for it must become steadfast, not fickle or variable. Like a disk re-written, he is rescued, renewed.
While his place in God is assured eternally, the yearning and the bruising, the breach of trust and the folly of his lapse is so great that he appeals for the assured beauty of holiness, to be doubly re-assured; he has grieved the Holy Spirit and he does not want the bruise unrelieved.
He desires that free, frank and full fellowship with God which had been for so long his inexpressible privilege (cf. I Samuel 23:7-13). This, because of the wonder of the Lord's own nature and spirit, is a joy that is free. In a flowing way, it may remind one of the wind in one's hair and face as one gallops on horse-back. The terrain may be rough, the route moving, but the wind is fresh and the speed is like that of an arrow, marking its target and flowing to it without impediment. Such is man at peace, redeemed, doing the will of God.
Thus David asks God to uphold him with His 'free' Spirit, so that he may then teach sinners the divine ways of the Lord. This term is fascinating. It can mean princely, noble, generous, almost lavish, and implies a lack of inhibition or competition, a giving and a grace, a voluntary thrust that is above constraint by mere custom or example.
God's "free Spirit" is like that, from the princely and noble, to the generous and voluntary. If He pardons, as in Isaiah 55, it is an ABUNDANT pardon; if He blots out, it is like a thick cloud that vanishes (Isaiah 44:21), if He cleanses, it is to make whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7). He neither forces the heart nor is forced Himself, and having made man in His own image, He has provided a scope that is delicious, delightful and awesome. The ultimate however is God Himself, and for the redeemed, He is our Rock, immovable, steadfast, sure.
We do not HAVE to follow custom, convention, or tradition; nor do we HAVE to ignore them. While the liberty which is given to man is not ultimate, since there can be only one ultimate for all things, not a dual control which would itself require the Maker of its integration and systematics which limit: yet man's liberty in principle is so vast as to seem like soaring towers of rock above one's head, from which fragments may readily break and provide peril!
Elements of life have broken through the misuse of man's liberty, as if the rocky crags of liberty, donated by God to mankind, were man’s actual base and the foundation. Hence man is being hit by them, fearing them, seeking 'integration of the personality' to replace things back where they were, and then finds that this is not easy, since they were not where they should be when he was born, for "in sin did my mother conceive me" as David relates.
At conversion, it is far deeper than mere reconstitution, for it requires, as in measure in the 'creation' of a clean heart, in the case of one major fall, so without qualification, in the entire personality at the outset, a recreation, a regeneration, as if you printed a set of pages all over again. This indeed is likely to be far cleaner and more precise than any merely corrected copy! God's free Spirit does not do a small job, but both regenerates and upholds (John 3:1-7, Psalm 51:12).
Indeed, in Psalm 51:12-13, David is so intent on the reception of new arrays of divine grace and renewal of place in the midst of the Lord's mercies, that he not only displays his intention to teach sinners the Lord's ways, but to find sinners who will be converted to the Lord in their own lives, not merely auditors but regenerates!
It is strange, is it not, how that word 'regenerates' seems almost drawn, because of the frequency of the usage of the term 'degenerates' for the fallen, in the English language, to indicate the besotted, fallen and spiritually decaying, morally corrupted, into a negative feel. However, it is not so, and means simply 'those who have been regenerated'.
Coming as seems to have been his custom, to the point, David specifies the awful actuality of his sin - 'bloodguiltiness' and seeking divine pardon, he thrusts into actuality the thought that THEN he will sing aloud of the Lord's righteousness (51:14).
In what way, however, is this
relevant, since it is MERCY, someone might say, which is being
sought ? Why then mention the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God when it is mercy that is to be praised in such pardon as David sought, and received ?
The answer is in the use of the term 'impute' in Psalm 32, and the term 'atonement' throughout Leviticus. Atonement is simply at one-ment, a strange concoction, but stands roughly for reconciliation, in which the following element is present: namely the provision of GROUNDS for the restoration of good feeling between two parties. You see that in Matthew 5:23-24. The imagined person at the altar, about to draw near to God is told that if his brother has something AGAINST HIM, first to be reconciled to his brother. In other words, the term implies that you DO what it TAKES to bring him back, and doubtless this involves the solution of the problem, WHATEVER may be YOUR feelings! It is HE who is still offended.
So here, there is something which man has to act on, in order to be reconciled to God, who after all is the OFFENDED PARTY! It is we, not He, who sinned. What then is done to achieve such a reconciliation ? It is what GOD has done, as seen in Psalm 22 from David's hand at the inspiration of God (cf. Acts 4:25), when on the public display crucible of contempt, the Cross, the Lord Himself in human form accepts the derision and the taunts, the very severance from His Father in heaven, during His mission on earth.
That came because SIN SEPARATES FROM GOD (Isaiah 59:1-2), and HE was bearing sin, the sin vicariously of all who would ever come to Him (II Corinthians 5:17-21). THAT is what has been done, and it is a prodigious act because:
it is GOD who is offended and it is GOD who yet makes the action for reconciliation.
ii) it is man who has caused offence, harm, evil and folly, of a prodigious
iii) man has misused the glorious and godly gift of liberty
iv) man is creation, a creature in that sense, but God is eternal;
Small wonder then that David, moving in all of this sphere of understanding and appreciation circling like aircraft aloft, about the sensitive pastures of his soul, cries to God:
Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise."
Could a heart of stone fail to praise for that ? Assuredly it might, but a clean and new heart could not fail to praise God for that: nor could David! Look at the Psalms which, though altogether divinely inspired, yet are inspired INTO the man whose love for the Lord makes them treasure to be desired, the expression of his Saviour and Lord.
In his Psalm, you see at first hand the vital difference between an inert 'Yes, I have received Christ as my Lord and Saviour' which may be given at church membership day, and the fluency of faith! While not all are highly verbal, how much more versatile in speech is the golfer talking of golf, the militant of war; and the man of a new heart, of the operation and the payment to provide it!
prodigious religious works are vain, besides the absolute need: a broken and
a contrite heart
(17). The atonement is one; but this need is yours. This contrition is the divinely granted wing (Acts 11:17-18), that brings you to the fountain of blood, drawn from Immanuel's veins, as depicted in Zechariah 13:1, and as the hymn has it . SEEK IT!
that it is then we can receive the gift of God (Romans
6:23, 5:15, II Corinthians 8:9),
then it can find it lodging place (18-19). It is then that the work with the people of God will be blessed, understanding mediated and strength provided.
Whether the restored Jewish remnant in their new Temple of Christ
(devastated in the flesh, raised in the resurrection after 3 days,
not the 46 years which Herod's vast structure had taken in His day, to rebuild),
or the Gentiles to come (as in Psalm 67,117):
Zion the proto-type, or the kingdom of heaven the fulfilment:
it is all one.
It is the same Lord, the same God, that same Spirit before whom there is
but in repentance,
but in supplication,
no way but through the blood of Christ,
the rejected Messiah,
no heart ready for reality
but one contrite and poor.
It is in Him that Zion will be strengthened, then that His good pleasure rushes like a mountain stream over the jagged rocks to the pleasant pastures below, since it comes from above.
UNDERSTANDING of the Lord
THE DESIDERATUM SEEN IN MATTHEW 5,
BASIC TO THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT
WHEN one has seen these things and experienced them in one's own spirit, it is then that the Sermon on the Mount, for example in the beatitudes, can the more be appreciated.
On this topic, Lord willing, we may be enabled to present things from His word to you, on a later occasion:
the Lord's great day of recognition of the fulfilment in observable reality
of the greatest work of all TIME,
namely that Cross of substitutionary atonement for all who come to Him
by faith to receive through grace the very adoption papers, promise and Spirit from God,
that spirit of adoption, consummated in the resurrection of glory, so that even by DIVINE STANDARDS of holiness and utter purity, the account being paid, life triumphs,
pre-paid for those who like King David, have found where blessedness lies, their eyes opened.
life is conferred, past the mountains in its endless duration,
for these depart, but His salvation does not, nor does His covenant of peace
(Isaiah 51:6, 54:9-17, John 6:50ff., 40, 5:24).
The Sermon on the Mount ? There is perfection in living for the Lord.
No longer does it seem 'for others', a mark of amazing spirituality, but the very ground under your feet. No man is anything like perfect, and the misunderstanding can become for some the worst blemish of all in this day of trial and test (I John 1), but a good understanding and the delight in these ways to watch for them and observe them with heart, this is purely natural now when the supernatural has through adoption and regeneration made of His people, as Paul says in Philippians 3:21, NOW citizens of the kingdom of heaven. What a country, what a liberty, what security, what enablement if need be to suffer for Christ and to live in a vitality of spirit which only He can give! What a privilege is this!
As Christ declared it, unless you are born again, you cannot so much as SEE the kingdom of heaven, far less enter it; for how would you board a bus when it was invisible to you, and you could not even see the road!
Now you can find the purity of heart as the purgative provision of the mighty God, not your own to boast of, but His to confer as your motives are mashed, your ways are inclined to Him, your mission in life is found from Him, your spirit becomes poor and your desire to show mercy to others becomes like life itself, an imperative not strange or alien, but intimate and spiritually dynamised with the might of the Almighty, since He Himself, HE is like that. Now you see the significance of Jeremiah's word from the Lord in 17:9:
"Thus says the Lord:
'Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am
the Lord, exercising lovingkindness,
judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,' says the Lord."
UNDERSTANDING of the Lord is crucial, as in any friendship, and THIS is a crucial phase of it!
Now you are willing to suffer for righteousness' sake.
This is even one of the great words of blessing from Christ, in His divine commendation.
It is found in Matthew 5:10-11 in the beatitudes of that same Sermon on the Mount).
Are you not willing to suffer for Him ? for if you are not, how can you hope the sincerity of your heart to accompany the power of your message, and how would you not defile the dynamic and warp the beauty of the holiness which God requires, as if to be a painter who constantly drops paint on his portrait!
Thus, as always, the word of
God in ALL of its application is coherent, consistent, and more than that, it is
like the beauty of some celestial symphony, where one does not only admire and
delectate the mutuality of the themes, the melodies which come and merge,
dissociate and individualise and then converge, but is amazed at the intuitive
intimacies, the vibrant ascents, the lowly passages of quiet.
Here one is all but ravished to find in all of it, just ONE mounting inspiration which leaves its message as do Autumn leaves in their millions, in some beautiful gardens, overlaying all with their superb beauty, and willingness to fall, if you will, in order to complete the testimony of botanical splendour. As in Autumnal magnificence, as in musical grandeur, but infinitely greater, is the unity and thematic splendour of the Lord in His word.
To this man will the Lord look, to him who is poor, and of a contrite spirit (Isaiah 66:1-2, Psalm 51:17); and the sacrifices of God in those who would come to Him ? They are that one should be poor, and of a contrite spirit. So do Isaiah and the Psalm, in kindred manner, indicate the way which David shows, as if an X-ray of his heart were provided for medical students, allowing and stirring them the better to appreciate the realism of it all, and to relish the nature of such dealings.
It is when the heart to heart affairs are made right, and the receipt of His pardon is not presumed but obtained by faith through His all-sufficient grace, that in its time, the grand day of His power, when the people of the Lord past, rise first, and those who are left join them at His coming (I Thessalonians 4):
it is then that the people of the Lord together in one paean of praise and spiritual consummation, clothed with the garments of immortality, see His face, when that glory comes like the Spring of magnificence, after the Winter of trials (Revelation 7:14ff., 21-22).
See News 8 concerning the Chika Honda imprisonment. One of the Premiers also instigated a sort of diplomatic shuttle, with correspondence one addressed to him concerning this matter, rather than personally face this issue and reply meaningfully, at the time. Such shuffling of responsibility would make sour reading if in fact Chika, as may well be the case, is innocent. In all good government, it is necessary for politicians to realise that the fact they have responsibility for many, does not mean this may be attenuated for any.
Verification and validation alike are unique to the Bible in the whole scope of universal thought and practical action.
Reason, Revelation and the Redeemer
Repent or Perish Ch. 7,
TMR Ch. 5,
SMR Chs. 1,8-9,
The Pitter-Patter ... Ch. 4,
The Glow of Predestinative Power Ch. 7.
If you want to look more widely, then see also:
Earth Spasm ... 1, 7,
Deliverance from Disorientation Ch. 7,
Cascade ... 3 , Spiritual Refreshings 13, 16,
SMR pp. 140 -151,
Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic 7
Secular Myths or Sacred Truth Ch. 7.
*2 See SMR Ch. 9,
It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls Ch. 10
Calibrating Myths Ch. 5 with
Galloping Events Ch. 3,
With Heart ... Chs. 4 ff. (Isaiah's predictions and presentations).
Divine Agenda Ch. 8
His Time is Near Chs.
Sparkling Life ... Ch. 4 Surveys of some depth, in spiritual reference
*3 See also the prediction focussing this very thing, acute repentance, and horror with poverty of spirit: in Zechariah 12:10ff.. The dynamic military preliminaries of this Chapter are now also abundantly fulfilled, and the future comes within millimetres, that vast return in Israel to the Christ whom the nation abhorred, as Isaiah in the immutable precisions of divine speech in the Bible, also predicted (Isaiah 49:7), centuries before any of it happened.
SMR Chs. 8, 9,
The Impregnable Tower Ch. 8;
Repent or Perish Ch. 7, pp. 174ff., cf. SMR pp. 773-774;
With Heart ...Chs. 4, 5 , 6, 7;
Dastardly Dynamics Ch. 3,
It Bubbles ... Ch. 7 (Isaiah and Zechariah);
Joyful Jottings 22-25.
The text of Psalm 51 may be helpful to some. It follows, with verse numbers inserted.
To the Chief Musician. A
Psalm of David
when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
1Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
2Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
3For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
4Against 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.
5Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
6Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
9Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.
10Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.
14Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.
18Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.