Sermon 2419. Repentance after Conversion
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S DAY, JUNE 30, 1895.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, JUNE 12, 1887.
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise." Psalm 51:17.
THE French have a phrase which signifies in English, "assisting at a service." A person who has been present at some grandfunction of the church speaks of himself as having "assisted" at the service. I want that many of us should literally carryout that expression just now. I do not want so much to preach as to lead you in the offering of sacrifices. Somebody says,perhaps, "But I have no bullock, no lamb." No, but you have a heart-and it is a broken and a contrite heart that I proposethat we should present to God! I will not invite those of you to do so who have never experienced the working of Divine Gracewithin your souls. I trust that you will be led to do so by the Spirit of God, but I cannot, just now, invite you to offerthat sacrifice, for my appeal is to those who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, to those who have been restored fromspiritual death, to those who are debtors to Free Grace and dying love. It is to them I speak and I invite and entreat themto accompany us while we present to God the sacrifices which He will not despise-the sacrifices of a broken spirit and a contriteheart.
I would have you specially notice that in this Psalm David puts the sacrifice in its right position-and I would put it inthe same position. You observe that he has, first of all, sought pardon for his sin and he has found it. He has prayed, "Purgeme with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." His sin, then, is forgiven. He has, next,asked for a restoration of purity-"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.'' That, also, hasbeen done. I will suppose it, my dear Friend, to have been done in your case, also-that you have been renewed in the spiritof your mind by the Grace of God.
Then, next, joy has also been restored to David, for he says, "Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation," so that it is nota question with him as to whether he is saved or not-he is a man who is saved and living in the assurance of salvation! Sinis pardoned and the impurity engendered by grievous transgression has become put away. He has peace with God-he is the manwho brings the sacrifice. He is the man who presents to God a broken heart and a contrite spirit. More than that, he has becomea preacher-his gratitude to God has led him to be useful to others, as he says in the 13th verse, "Then will I teach transgressorsYour ways; and sinners shall be converted unto You." And even more than that, he has gone from the pulpit to the choir-hehas become a singer and he sings a sweet song of thankfulness to the great God who has saved him! Now, this is the man whoselips the Lord has opened and whose mouth is showing forth God's praise! This is the man who says, "The sacrifices of God area broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise."
Perhaps you have the notion that repentance is a thing that happens at the commencement of the spiritual life and has to begotten through as one undergoes a certain operation-and that is an end of it. If so, you are greatly mistaken! Repentancelives as long as faith. Towards faith I might almost call it a Siamese twin. We shall need to believe and to repent as longas we live! Perhaps, also, you have the idea that repentance is a bitter thing. It is sometimes bitter-"They shall be in bitternessfor Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn," but that is not the kind of repentance that I am talking of, now.Surely that bitterness is past, it was all over long ago. But this is a sweet bitterness which attends faith as long as welive-and becomes a source of tender joy!
I do not know whether I shall quite convey my meaning to you, but I can assure you that the greatest joy I have ever knownhas not been when I have laughed, but when I have cried. The most intense happiness I have ever felt has not been when I havebeen exhilarated and full of spirits, but when I have leaned very low on the bosom of God and felt it so sweet to be so lowthat one could scarcely be lower and yet did not wish to be any higher! I quite agree with Mr. Rowland Hill, who said he supposedthat there could be no tears of repentance in Heaven and that would be the only thing that he could almost regret, for sweetSister Repentance is such charming company that we shall regret to part with her even at the gates of pearl. As we may haveto part with her, there, I want us to keep her company all the time this service lasts! And my objective at this time is toask you to bring to God, while we are here in this House of Prayer, the sacrifices of a broken and a contrite spirit. I wantyou to indulge yourselves in this most rare and exquisite delight of sorrow at the feet of Jesus-not sorrow for unpardonedsin, but sorrow for pardoned sin, sorrow for that which is done with, sorrow for that which is forgiven, sorrow for that whichwill never condemn you-for it was laid on Christ long ago and is put away forever! It is this sweet sorrow that I want youto indulge. Up with the sluices, then, Brothers and Sisters, and let these sacred streams of sorrow flow forth!
I. And, first, LET US CONSIDER WHAT THIS SACRIFICE IS. It is a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart. If you and Ihave a broken spirit, all idea of our own importance is gone. What is the use of a broken heart? Why, much the same as theuse of a broken pot, or a broken jug, or a broken bottle! Men throw it on the dunghill! Hence David says, "A broken and acontrite heart, O God, You will not despise,'' as if he felt that everybody else would despise it. Now, do you feel that youare of no importance? Though you know that you are a child of God, do you feel that you would not give a penny for yourself?You would not wish to claim the first place. The rear rank suits you best and you wonder that you are in the Lord's army inany rank at all.
Oh, Brothers and Sisters, I believe that the more God uses us, the less we shall think of ourselves, and the more He fillsus with His Spirit, the more will our own spirit sink within us in utter amazement that He should ever make use of such brokenvessels as we are! Well now, indulge that feeling of nothingness and unimportance! Not only indulge it as a feeling, but goand act upon it! And be you in the midst of your Brothers and Sisters less than the least-humble yourselves in wonder thatGod should permit your name to stand on the roll of His elect at all. Admire the Grace of God to you and marvel at it in deephumiliation of spirit. That is part of the sacrifice that God will not despise!
Next, if you and I have a broken and a contrite heart, it means that frivolity and trifling have gone from us. There are somewho are always trifling with spiritual things, but he who gets a broken heart has done with that sort of spirit. A brokenheart is serious, solemn and in earnest. A broken heart never tries to play any tricks with God and never shuffles texts asthough even Scripture, itself, were meant only to be an opportunity for testing our wit. A broken spirit is tender, serious,weighed down with solemn considerations. Indulge that spirit, now-be solemn before God, grasp eternal things, let slip theseshadows-what are they worth? But set your soul on things Divine and everlasting. Pursue that vein of thought and so bringbefore God a broken and a contrite spirit!
Further, a broken spirit is one out of which hypocrisy has gone. That vessel, whole and sealed up, may contain the most preciousoil of roses, or it may contain the foulest filth-I know not what is in it. But break it and you will soon see! There is nohypocrisy about a broken heart. Oh, Brothers and Sisters, be before men what you are before God! Seem to be what you reallyare. Make no pretences. I am afraid that we are all hypocrites in a measure-we both pray and preach above our own actual experiencefull often-and we, perhaps, think that we have more faith than we actually have and more love than we have ever known. TheLord make us to have a broken heart that is revealed by being broken! You know, now, what was in that pot, for there it lies,broken to shivers. Its contents are no longer concealed, they have all run out. Now, pour out your hearts before God as yousit there in your pews, and let Him see what He really does see-all that is in your soul-for in your hidden parts He wouldhave you to know wisdom. Reveal yourselves unto yourselves and so reveal yourselves unto your God!
Once more, a broken spirit signifies that all the secrets and essences of the spirit have flowed out. You remember what happenedwhen that holy woman broke the alabaster box? We read that "the house was filled with the odor of the ointment." A brokenheart cannot keep secrets! Now is all revealed. Now its essence goes forth. Far too much of our praying and of our worshipis like closed-up boxes-you cannot tell what is in them. But it is not so with broken hearts! When broken hearts sing, theysing! When broken hearts groan, they groan! Broken hearts never play at repenting, nor play at believing. There is much ofreligion, nowadays, that is very superficial, it is all on the surface. A very small quantity of Gospel paint, with just alittle varnish of profession, will go a very long way, and look very bright. But broken hearts are not like that-with brokenhearts the hymn is a real hymn, the prayer is a real prayer, the hearing of sermons is earnest work-and the preaching of themis the hardest work of all!
Oh, what a mercy it would be if some of you were broken all to pieces! There are many flowers that will never yield theirperfume till they are bruised. Even the generous grape lets not its juice flow forth till it is trodden under foot of men.Breaking and bruising are fit treatment for the nature of men, especially for the new nature. When God has put sweetness intoour hearts, it is then that breaking develops the sweetness. Oh, to worship God in spirit and in truth! One has well said,"No one ever worshipped God with his whole heart unless he worshipped him with a broken heart. And there never was a heartthat was truly broken that did not, thereby, become a whole heart." The divided heart is not broken, but the broken heartis never divided. I know that I am talking in riddles, but the wise will understand me. To get unity of spirit, there mustbe contrition and brokenness of heart.
II. Now, in the second place, LET US OFFER THE SACRIFICE.
I have told you a little of what the sacrifice means, now we will try, as God shall help us, to bear our brokenness of heartbefore the Lord. Come, my Brothers and Sisters, let us mourn for awhile on account of our past sin. We will do so from severalpoints of view.
First, let us deeply regret that we have sinned against so good a God. While I regarded God as a tyrant, I thought sin a trifle.But when I knew Him to be my Father, then I mourned that I could ever have kicked against Him. When I thought that God washard, I found it easy to sin. But when I found God so kind, so good, so overflowing with compassion, I smote upon my breastto think that I could have rebelled against One who loved me so and sought my good. Will you not now think of the goodnessof God, Brothers and Sisters, and shall it not lead you to repentance? Shall we not feel within our hearts a burning indignationagainst sin because it is committed against so holy, so good, so glorious a Being as the infinitely blessed God?
Let me help you, again, and may the arrow pierce your very hearts this time! Let us mourn to think that we have offended againstso excellent and admirable a Law. If the Law of God were like the laws of men, it might sometimes be a virtue to break it!But where a Law is so balanced, so perfect, oh, how could we have run contrary to it? Brothers and Sisters, the Law of God,when it says to us, "You shall not," only sets up a danger signal to tell us where it is injurious to go. And when the Lawsays, "You shall," it does but lift up a kindly hand to point out to us the best and safest path. There is nothing in theLaw of God that will rob you of happiness-it only denies you that which would cost you sorrow! We know that it is so and,therefore, we stand here and bow our head, and mourn that we should have been so foolish as to transgress, so willful andsuicidally wicked as to do that evil thing which God hates and which so grievously injures us! We have nursed vipers whenwe have nursed sins! We have hatched the cockatrice's egg when we have thought upon iniquity! Therefore let us be truly sorryfor our sin and for our folly.
You remember that I am talking to those of you who are saved, to those of you whose sins are forgiven. In my heart, I thinkthat I can hear some others say, "Will you not let us join with you in repenting though we are not pardoned?" Bless your hearts,yes! God help you to join with us and if you do, you will find pardon, too, for pardon comes in this way! A broken heart cannever long be divided from the broken Savior. You shall have peace with Him when you are at war with sin. But now I am especiallyinviting the people of God to sweetly grieve in this House of Prayer and offer the sacrifice of a contrite heart while theyremember that they have sinned against God's perfect Law.
More than that-and this is a very tender point-let us grieve that we have sinned against a Savior's love. I like that versewe sang just now-
"'Tis I have thus ungrateful been, Yet, Jesus, pity take! Oh, spare and pardon me, my Lord, For Your sweet mercy's sake!"
The greatest crime that was ever committed against high Heaven was that crime of deicide when men nailed the Son of God tothe Cross and put Him to death as a criminal! Where are the wretches that did this awful deed? They are here-I will not saythat they are before us, for each of us harbors one of them within his bosom. "'Tis I"-"'Tis I have thus ungrateful been."How can I speak to you thus? Well, perhaps, all the better, because from my very heart I ask that we may stand together atthe foot of the Cross and count the purple drops and say, "These have washed away my sins, yet I helped to spill them. Thosehands, those feet, have saved me, yet I nailed them there. That opened side is the refuge of my guilty spirit, yet I madethat fearful gash by my sin. It was my sin that slew my Savior!"
O sin, you thrice accursed thing, away with you! Away with you! Come, let us be filled with mournful joy, with pleasurablesorrow, while we sit beneath the bloody tree and see what sin has done-and yet see how sin, itself, has been undone by Himwho died upon the Cross on Calvary! Beloved, the more you love your Lord, the more you will hate sin. If you often sit atthe table with Him and dip your hand into His dish. If you lean your head upon His bosom with the blessed John. If you arefavored and indulged with the choicest brotherliness towards the Well-Beloved, I know that you will often find occasion toseek a quiet place where you may shed tears of bitter regret that you should ever have sinned against such a Savior as Jesus!
Let me help you, again, however, while I remind you, Beloved, of our sins against the holy Spirit. Oh, what do we not oweto the Holy Spirit? I speak to you who know Him. It is the Holy Spirit who quickened you, the Holy Spirit who convinced youof sin, the Holy Spirit who comforted you! And oh, how sweetly does that Divine Comforter still comfort! Yet we resisted Himand grieved Him. Do you not remember, in your youthful days, how you strangled your convictions, how you held down conscienceand would not let it reprove you? That blessed Spirit, whom we vexed and spurned, might have left us and gone His way, neverto strive with us again, but He loved us so that He came and took up His abode with us and now He dwells in us! Within thenarrow cell of our poor heart He has condescended to find a temple for His perpetual indwelling. O my Soul, how could youever grieve Him? How could you ever have resisted that best and most tender Friend? I do not ask you to torture yourselves,but I do invite you, Beloved, to now indulge the joyful grief of sweet heavenly penitence as you remember the love of theSpirit.
Let us go a step further and set our sin in the light of God's Countenance. I speak to you, Beloved, who are God's elect.He loved you from before the foundation of the world and yet you have sinned against Him. He chose you from among men, ofHis own Sovereign Grace, and ordained you to belong to Christ, and gave you to Jesus to be His forever! Alas, you knew itnot, and you continued to sin against this distinguishing and discriminating Grace! Oh, that even the elect of God could havedone this! See that you crucify the sin that suffered you to act so shamefully. Then in due time you were redeemed. For you,Beloved, Jesus shed His precious blood! He shed it not for all men, but with a special view to the redemption of His elect.Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it. He has redeemed us from among men! We have been the object of that specialand peculiar redemption and yet against that dear Christ, who loved us, and gave Himself for us, we rebelled and transgressed!Ordained to be of the blood royal of Heaven, and yet a rebel! Ordained on earth to have the love of God within our spiritand, in Heaven, to behold His face forever-ordained by Divine decree to this high destiny-and yet for many a year a rebel,a willful rebel against such wondrous love as this! I do not know what to say to myself! I despise myself, I loathe myself,that I should thus have acted against such extraordinary love!
Then remember, also, that you are God's child, adopted into His family, His twice-born, Divinely regenerated. You are an heirof God, a joint heir with Jesus Christ. And yet-and yet you have acted so sinfully! O God, You have forgiven Your servantsbut we have never forgiven ourselves! And we never mean to-we shall always mourn, even in our joy for pardoned guilt, thatwe, the favorites of Heaven, should have so grieved the Lord!
Go a little further. I want you to set sin in the light of your marvelous experiences. Oh, there are some of us who, withoutboasting, can tell of answered prayer when we have come back from the top of Carmel and we have cried, "I have won the day!"And yet to us who have been privileged, thus, to have power with God, it was not always so. Perhaps the very lips that nowprevail in prayer were once habituated to blasphemy. Oh, mourn, my Brother, if it were so! Can you ever stop mourning? WhenJohn Newton wrote the Cardiphonia, or, Voice of the Heart-when he left us that choice treasure-I am sure that he must oftenand often have smitten upon his breast and grieved over the thought that he was once, in Africa, a blasphemer and everythingthat was foul and bad!
Oh yes, wonders of Grace have been ours! Wonders of Grace! Wonders of Grace! We have tasted the wines on the lees well refined-yetonce we drank of the wine of the clusters of Sodom and Gomorrah! What has Grace not done for us, Brothers and Sisters? Youand I have been in the King's banqueting house and His banner of love has waved over us! And our Beloved has caught us away,"from the top of Amana, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards," and manifested His love to us in the secretplaces where no eye saw except our own and His. There did He reveal to us His great love! Yet we were the very ones who oncedespised Him, broke His Sabbaths, refused to read His Word, neglected prayer, perhaps ridiculed holy things! We were proud,covetous, unholy-but we are washed, we are sanctified. Oh, let us sit here and sweetly repent, and present to our God thesacrifices of a broken and contrite spirit!
Besides, dear Friends, think of the injury you have done to others by your example. What a powerful preacher a mother is toher boy! What an influential preacher is a father to his son! What a mighty preacher one workmen may be to another, especiallyif he is a man of stronger mind than his fellows! Whatever any of us do, we are sure to have some who will copy us-it cannotbe avoided. You are all writing copies every day, even though you are not schoolmasters and there are some who will learneither bad or good writing from you, for they will copy your handwriting. I mean, that they will imitate what they see inyou. In years to come, when you have forgotten what you did, some may be following your former example. I would urge youngmen-and I am glad to see a great many of them present-to pray that they may begin life in such a way that they may not havemuch back reckoning.
Suppose a man to be converted after his children are born. If those children have seen the father do wrong, they will, perhaps,remember the evil better than the good example of their converted father. When your children have once left your roof, whatopportunities of influencing them aright you have lost! Though you may, yourselves, be saved by faith in Christ, yet you cannotcall back the boys and the girls from those sinful ways into which you led them in the days of your ungodliness! This thoughthas a sharp sting in it for any who, by word or by example, have taught others to do that which is evil in the sight of theLord. If this is your case, Beloved, while you praise God that He has forgiven your sin, yet mourn that you ever led any astrayby your wrongdoing!
If that is not enough, I want to lead you a little further and bid you think of all the opportunities that we lose wheneverwe fall into sin. I repent of sin unfeignedly because it has hindered my progress. I am now speaking only to the people ofGod, mark you. If any of you sinners want to creep in among them, you may, but I am especially addressing them. There is onehere who, not long ago, was a pilgrim on the road to the Celestial City and he went part of the way up the Hill Difficulty,climbing splendidly on his hands and knees. He made the best of his way up, but it came to pass that when he had gone abouthalf-way up the hill, he found a little arbor by the roadside. It was built there by the Lord of the Way that he might resthimself a little in it, and then go on his way. But this Brother sat down in the arbor and he sat on till he went to sleep.And he slept there, I do not know how long. Just lately he has been awakened and he has gone on his way, again, climbing up,but he has discovered that he has lost the roll that he used to carry in his bosom.
It was a roll that he had when first he started at the head of the Way and he meant to present it to the Lord of the CelestialCity when he came to his journey's end. But he has lost his roll. You know what Mr. Bunyan says of this matter. It was gettinglate, but Christian had lost his roll, so he had to go back, and he wisely went back to the place where he had fallen asleep-allthe way moaning and sighing and crying to himself, "I have lost my evidences, I have lost may roll. Where shall I find it?"He was so glad when he looked under the bench, to see the roll there. I guarantee you that he quickly picked it up, put itin his bosom! But then, you see, he had to go over that part of the road three times. If he had not lost his roll and hadto go back, he might, by that time, have been much further on the road. There were lions in that region and that was uglyfor him. If he had got into the House Beautiful earlier in the day, he would not have suffered the fears he now had. So hewent along in a very sad state of mind and all because of that careless sleeping in the arbor. Oh, what some of you mighthave been if it had not been for your sins since conversion! What a preacher I might have been! What workers in the Sundayschool you might have been! Oh, what winners of souls you might have become by this time! But you have been asleep and hadto go back, perhaps, and so you have missed many opportunities of serving Christ.
Let us sit and think this matter over and begin to say, "Lord, we present to You a broken and contrite heart, mourning andlamenting, for if we are straitened, we are straitened in ourselves, not in You. If we are mourning in darkness, we, ourselves,made the darkness. If we are desponding, we have, in a large measure, created the despondency. Lord, we grieve and sorrowfor all this." Since I have been in this house, tonight, I have heard of a dear Brother, whose prayers I remember among thefirst I heard when I came to be pastor of this Church. He passed away, today, and has gone to his reward, an old man and fullof years. That Brother is where you and I will be very soon! Do not talk about years-they go so quickly and our friends passaway quickly, too.
Just the other day a man of God sat at his table writing. He had dipped his pen in the ink, but he never laid it on the paper,for he fell asleep, then and there, and he was gone Home. We, too, shall soon pass away. "Perhaps in a few days I shall beamong the angels"-say that to yourself, my Brother. Perhaps in a few weeks I shall behold the face of Him I
love"-say that, my Sister. It will come true! Perhaps in a few years-no, drop the, "perhaps," and say-"Certainly, within afew years, I shall behold the Beatific Vision."-
"Father I long, I faint to see
The place of Your abode."
I see myself walking over that street of gold that shines like glass! Earthly gold is dull, you cannot see into it. If youcould, you would see the tears of the oppressed and, sometimes, the blood of crushed men in it. But the gold of Heaven isgood and you can see into it, as you could into a sea of glass. I think I am walking there. I hardly know myself and thereI meet one and another of you whom I knew, here, and we go together down that golden street and look in at the many mansions,from which come out many to welcome us, and we thread our way into the center. There is no temple there, no tabernacle ofworship there, but we get into the center and we stand upon the glassy sea into which all the streets seem to run. And aswe look around, we see angels and elders bowing there before the Throne of the Infinite Majesty, and we are there and we bowwith them. And when we lift up our eyes to that Light, we sing, "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in Hisown blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever!"
Now I want you to think of your sins in the light of that Glory. Oh, how could those who are predestinated to these heavenlyseats ever have wandered into sin? What? Was it so that we, who were born to behold the face of God, ever loved the theaterand all its abominations? What? Did we, who were ordained to be peers with cherubim and seraphim, ever love the racetrackand all its gambling? What? Were we, whom God has made to be conformed to the image of His firstborn Son, ever seen to bedrunk and staggering through the streets, defiled with unchastity, or polluted with gluttony, or guilty of covetousness, orcursed with pride? What? We whom the Lord has loved with an everlasting love and without whom Christ, Himself, will not becontent to reign in Heaven, groveling in iniquity?
Oh, I think these questions must have helped to make sin seem contemptible and loathsome! I point at it the finger of scorn!O dear children of God, scorn your sins, lament your sins, weep over your sins! Indulge that feeling and God will accept itwhen it is mixed with faith in His dear Son, for "the sacrifices of God," that is, all sorts of sacrifices put together-sin-offerings,burnt offerings, peace-offerings, scapegoats and all together-"the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit." One broken spiritis worth them all! "A broken and a contrite heart"-though there is but one such-"O God, You will not despise."
God bless you, Beloved, for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALM51.
This is a portion of Scripture which can never be read too often. If any among us have never found mercy, let them use thisPsalm as their own personal prayer-while those who have found mercy can read between the lines and read the sweetness of pardoninto the bitterness of sorrow for sin! This Psalm was written by David when Nathan came to him after his great sin with Bathsheba.He needed Nathan to come to him to rebuke him. If David had not been in a very sad state of heart, he would not have falleninto the sin. It was that state of heart which left him so hardened, so obdurate, that he needed Nathan pointedly to say tohim, "You are the man." After that, he wrote and prayed this truly penitential Psalm.
Verse 1. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness. He used to talk about being God's servant, but he saysnothing about that, now. He used to speak of God's great love to him, but he cannot realize that, now. Yet he appeals to Godfor mercy-"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness."
1. According unto the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. "There they are, they stare me in theface; nobody but You can blot them out; do it, Lord, for Your sweet mercy's sake. Blot them out of existence and out of memory.And when You have blotted them from Your Book of Remembrance, then blot them from me, too."
2. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. "If washing will not do, use fire, use blood, use anything,but cleanse me from my sin."
3. For I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is always before me. "Lord, help me. Here is my sin-I cannot shut my eyesto it. I dare not deny it, or excuse it. I make a clean breast of it. I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is alwaysbefore me."
4. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done this evil in Your sight. "I have sinned against others, but this is the foulnessof the blot, the venom of the sting, that I have sinned against my God."
4, 5. That You might be justified when You speak, and be clear when You judge. Behold, I was shaped in iniquity and in sindid my mother conceive me. "Behold, for this is a wonder, and I look at it and I mourn over it. Behold, before I had a shape,I was out of shape! Before I saw anything, still there was sin antecedent to my very existence."
6. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part You shall make me to know wisdom. "But, alas, Lord,what You desire is not there. In my inward part I find falsehood! In my hidden part, I find folly! Lord, what You desire,You must also bestow, or else I shall never have it! Oh, hear Your servant's supplication!"
7. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. This is delightful pleading on David'spart. He had seen the priest take the sprigs of hyssop, dip them in the blood and then sprinkle the leper. So his prayer is,"Lord, give me purification through the Atonement. 'Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean.'" It requires strong faith,when under a deep sense of sin, to be quite sure that God can put the sin away. It is a grand thing to be able to say, "Washme, foul as I am, wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."
8. Make me to hear joy and gladness. "Lord, I have heard nothing but groans, lately, and I have made no sound but sighs-'Makeme to hear joy and gladness.'"
8. That the bones which You have broken may rejoice. When God makes us feel the weight of sin, it is a bone-breaking operation.He seems to strike as though He would kill-and only He that thus strikes can afterwards heal. Then He makes each fragmentof the bone to sing and praise Him!
9. Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. You see that the Psalmist has many names for sin, for evil,like a great rogue, has many aliases. So it is sometimes sin. Sometimes it is transgression, passing over the line of right.And sometimes it is inequity, or a departure from perfect equity. "Call it by whatever name it may be called, Lord, let mebe rid of it. 'Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities.'"
10. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. "My Creator, I am spoiled. Come and make me overagain. My heart has grown foul. You who did make me, clean me." The watchmaker best cleans the watch that he made. "Createin me a clean heart, O my Creator, and renew a right spirit within me."
11. Cast me not away from Your Presence. "I have acted as if You were not present, but, oh, do not fling me away! Do not takeYour Presence away from me."
11. 12. And take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation. "Once I was so happy. Oh, give meback my joy!"
12. And uphold me with Your free Spirit. "I have fallen foully; let me not fall again. Henceforth, I cannot trust myself;You uphold me. I have been free to sin. Lord, send me a freer spirit, that I may be free to follow after righteousness."
13. Then will I teach transgressors Your ways. He would turn preacher if God would but bless him! He would tell others whatgreat things God had done for him.
13. And sinners shall be converted unto You. He felt sure that if he once told his tale of love, others would be melted andwould turn to God-and no doubt it was the case.
14. Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God, God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. "Oncecleanse me from my sin and I will sing Your praises forever! And I will sing earnestly, too-'My tongue shall sing aloud ofYour righteousness.'"
15. O Lord, open You my lips. He felt as if he was going too fast when he promised to speak and to sing, so he prayed, "OLord, open You my lips"-
15. And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. When good men have had a fall, they walk very tenderly afterwards. Once putthem on their legs and they are very careful how they move. They are afraid to speak except as God opens their lips.
16. For You desire not sacrifice; else would I give it. David remembered that under the Law there was no sacrifice appointedfor the expiation of adultery. There were some sins that were left out of the catalog, and this was one of them.
16, 17. You delight not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. Even for the man who has committed themost atrocious crimes, there is still acceptance if he brings God the sacrifice of a broken spirit!
17, 18. A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. Do good in Your good pleasure unto Zion: build, You, thewalls of Jerusalem. Now that he feels himself forgiven, he begins to pray for the good estate of the Church of God and theLord's people everywhere! We cannot do that when sin is breaking our bones-but when we get peace and rest, then the firstinstinct of the newborn life is to pray for God's Kingdom-"Do good in Your good pleasure unto Zion: build, You, the wallsof Jerusalem."
19. Then shall You be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering then shallthey offer bullocks upon Your altar.