Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Comforts from the Cross - Day 18

A Broken Heart

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. -Psalm 51:12

"There are some days when, by His good grace, God deeply strikes my heart and shows me my sin. When God awakens me to it, it's easy for me to despair, to believe that I'm not changed, that I'll never change, to run."  How often I am reminded of the Lord's love for me, but often my sin is quite ugly.  As I read through Psalm 51 for today's devotional, I was reminded of a time when sin broke my heart and I needed restoration that only God could provide.  Elyse shares parts of her story in today's reading, but I realized that those whose sin has been cleansed, all have one of those times (or maybe many of those times). I'm going to share a little of one of mine. I asked permission of the person I sinned against, my little brother. Still thankful to this day that it it is now a vague memory in his mind.

Little bro was in high school, and I thought I was the smartest college student ever. I was home for the weekend and saw some "behavior" in him that I didn't think was the greatest. Being the fantastic person that I was, I decided that God was going to use me to show him the errors of his way.  (Every read Matthew 7:1-5? I had the plank...) I met him outside of our house as he was coming home from a date with his girlfriend. I think I had stored up all the meanest words I could think of to lash out at him. It was a verbal assault of the worst kind and ended horribly. I went to bed that night with so much anger and disgust at my little brother for not seeing what I thought were some huge problems in his life. The next day, Sunday, God would use part of David's story in 2 Samuel 12:1-15 to show me that it was actually me who had sinned against God and my brother with my actions. God broke my heart that morning and in the middle of Sunday School, I began to seek repentance.

Elyse wrote these words that I so easily relate to, "Yes, God is good, but I knew I hadn't been, and thinking about my sin felt too humbling."  David responded to his sin and guilt in a much better way than I handle mine. If you haven't read Psalm 51 yet, read it now. Stop and dwell on his prayer of repentance. The reading today points out just a few thoughts about David that should be characteristic of our repentance.
  • He recognized the poverty of His soul. (verses 3-5)
  • He pleaded for cleansing and covering. (verses 7-12)
  • Because of what the Lord had done, He desired to worship. (verses 14-17)
There are more truths that I could point out from this passage and from what I read today, but these especially convicted my heart.  Often, I struggle with thinking of how to respond in worship when I recognize that after repentance, my heart should want to praise. It doesn't naturally do that. More often I see this idea, "my zeal in worship is mainly predicated on my approval of myself." What the Lord has had to teach me through some tough times of repentance and restoration is that "He did not want my good record. Instead, he wanted brokenness and humility that would make me love Him more (and in my case, my little brother.) Outward sacrifice is easy; it appeals to my religious pride. God desires a heart that is broken by sin and humbled. O, the mercy of a God who will not scorn the sinner's broken heart."

Earlier today, I heard this song, The Endless Mercy of Our God, by Matt Boswell. Such a simple song, yet so true. As I think about my sin, I rejoice that His mercy is so much greater and that the joy of salvation can be restored through a heart of repentance. 

Verse 1:           
The endless mercy of God will ever     
Be my ground secure
God unchanging will be my rock
Whom eternity assures

The endless mercy of our God, The endless mercy of our God
Forevermore shall endure, the endless mercy of our God

Verse 2:           
The endless mercy of God displayed
Upon the cross so vile
The wrath of God there satisfied
And man be reconciled

Verse 3:
The endless mercy of God
The Holy Spirit hath he sealed
And written there in ink that ne’er  shall
Fade nor be concealed

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