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Purify my heart (17-02-21)

Bible Reading: Psalm 51:1-4,7,10,15

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.

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.


A Reflection

The Old Testament is full of some very dodgy characters, many of whom found favour with God. King David is a prime example of this. Psalm 51, the psalm set for Ash Wednesday, was written by David following his exposure by the prophet Nathan as both an adulterer and a murderer.


In this psalm there are some insights and some encouragement for all of us as, at the start of Lent, we reflect on our lives and on our relationship with God.


David comes to God and says, ‘I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me’. This reminds me of the words we sometimes use in church, ‘If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us, if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’. (1 John 1:8-9)


David committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged for her husband to be killed, and yet in this psalm he says to God, ‘Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight’. The things we do wrong often affect other people, but it is our loving heavenly Father that we hurt the most.

Is there something you need to confess to God today, something that maybe you have never acknowledged before? It’s no use denying it, God already knows about it. Burying it won't get rid of it but confessing it to God will. Do you need to do that today?


Having confessed his sin to God, David is confident of God’s forgiveness as he says, ‘Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow’. Now, with the assurance that our sins are paid for by the blood of Jesus, we can have the confidence that, when we have confessed them to him, God sees us as whiter than snow.


Having confessed his sin to God and found forgiveness, David looks forward. He is free of the past, but aware of his need of God’s help in the future to maintain a pure heart, a steadfast spirit, and a heart full of praise to God.


A Prayer

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.

Amen


Purify my heart.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkqJHUJlKVM

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