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An Open Book

Psalm 135-139, specifically Psalm 139

A Man After God’s Own Heart –  have heard this statement about King David for years. I remember wondering why did God honor David so? A shepherd boy last of Jesse’s children; yet elevated to position of King over all of Israel. It will be upon “David’s throne” that the Lion of Judah – Jesus Christ will reign; honored by having 19 kings of one dynasty from the line of David sit upon the throne of divided Israel. Yet when I read the Old Testament about David I find many times that he failed. He failed to deal with Ammon’s rape of Tamar; he failed to address Absalom’s rebellion and attempt to usurp the kingdom from him; we know of the moral failure with Uriah and Bathsheba. Even Joab went somewhat unpunished for siding with Absalom against David. So why did God honor David so? Truly David was a man after God’s own heart. When we read the Psalms from this week there is a underlining position which David always returned to; that of being known by God and desiring intimacy with God. David was an open book before the LORD.

I visited Israel back in 1993; I was surprised by the memorial established with the sarcophagus of David. People thronged to it to worship and pray at this very old memorial setting. We know that many prophecies that are attributed to David find their fulfillment in Jesus. We know of the fear of the Lord versus the fear of Goliath; David trusted God even though there were many times of testing. David was exalted for his bravery and honor brought to Israel in defeating the Philistines. David was a human like all of us, yes he had many failings – but amidst the failing David knew that it was the right relationship – transparent relationship that was his strength.  We could look at Psalm 51 along with 139 and find that one shows a broken heart; the other 139; begs for transparency and intimacy. I wonder if we are willing to be an “Open Book” before the Lord? I don’t find this spirit within to many people. Most of the time we spend more effort in trying to hide our true self from others and even think we can hide from our Lord Jesus.

In Psalm 51; after being approached by Nathan about his sin; David breaks with conviction and repentance over his sin. Restoration is the order of the day in Psalm 51; David knows the struggle and conviction he has endured in the year between his sin with Bathsheba and Nathan’s rebuke. One can hear the gut wrenching ethos from David’s heart – search me, purify me, cleanse me, wash me, make me, create within me, restore me, deliver me Oh God for I have sinned against You.

I find that as a believer, we all struggle with sin; we know our lives should be “better than they are” we long for deliverance over our habitual sins; we practice Christianity and go to Church, read or bibles and try to muster up the strength to overcome our past and current sin. Our sins haunt us, they plague us and keep us living in fear of discovery. David didn’t care what others thought; I do not find cover up in him. Psalm 51 – a broken and contrite heart are the sacrifices David brings to God for his sins.

In Psalm 139 there is a different tone; David is keenly aware of the omniscience of God; it is ludicrous to try to hide from God, so don’t waste energy on trying. Here we find that David is intimately aware of the Presence of God not only in the created realm, but in the thoughts and intents of our hearts. David is overwhelmed by the “behind the scenes” work of God in his life. When we look back at our lives; we should be awed not by the things we have accomplished, but what God has done in and through us despite our condition as fallen humanity. I believe that we are all born at a very particular time in history; God has brought us together for “Such a time as this.” As David was God’s instrument then – we are to be today. David continually ask God to “search him, Try or test him, know my anxious thought – see if there is any hurtful way in me and lead me in the everlasting Way.”

An Open Book – a well read book, some of our lives are like an Unopened Book; others are like a dog-eared well used book that has been read over and over again. Yet I believe we all should be the latter book – God knows that we do not live pristine lives – my challenge to all of us; will we be an OPEN or CLOSED book? A man after God’s own heart requires a heart that is open to all that God desires for us and a transparent intimacy with our Savior daily.


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Repentance and Renwal = Revival

Psalm 51 is my focus this week. Our church just had a week of revival services. It was well attended and the Gospel was proclaimed clearly and delivered with passion. The seeds of revival have been once again planted in the Church. I have learned that almost nothing in the Kingdom of God happens by accident. This is most certainly true of Revival. I have asked several different audiences ranging from churches to pastors, if they had ever experienced revival. To my dismay, almost always the answer is no. I can remember years ago when revivals were held for a minimum of two weeks. I often wondered why two weeks? The Answer makes all the sense in the world. The first week is to revive the church members; the second week is to bring the lost/unredeemed to Christ. The point is revival is for the Church and if it occurs, then there will be an awakening to the lost.

In our Psalm 51, we find that David has been approached by the prophet Nathan, that story is unfolded in 2 Samuel 12 in the aftermath of David’s adultery and murder with Bathsheba and Uriah. It was almost a year before Nathan approaches David, and then only at the prompting of God. Everyone knew that David had sinned grossly before the people. Yet no one said a thing until Nathan is sent by the LORD. Known sin is makes miserable believer and brings public discredit upon the LORD God.

David repents having been confronted about his sin. The remorse in Psalm 51 is evident. David is call “a man after God’s own heart,” yet he is both an adulterer and a murderer. If revival is to occur in our personal life and the life of the Church, there must be a confrontation about the known, yet unconfessed sin towards God. David himself tells us the “against you, You only have I sinned and done evil in your sight.” [[verse 4]

David knows the LORD, He also knows the misery he has dealt with in his bones because of unconfessed sin; for it was ever on his mind. God is merciful and compassionate. There is a genuine repentance about his sin; there is evidence that David turned away from his iniquity. David did not have “kings privileges” to go into Bathsheba. Pastors and believers know what God requires of them – holiness. David was not tricked with Bathsheba; in fact David had shirked his duties as king, for he should have been on the battlefield.

There are a number of requests David makes of Yahweh – wash, purge, purify, create, deliver, restore, make me, blot out, and cleanse me from my iniquity. Iniquity is that sin which we deliberately do, knowingly. David has come clean about what he has done. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 we find how revival occurs. “If my people who are called by name, humble themselves, seek my face, turn from their wicked ways and pray – then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.” This is not so much a formula as it is a description of what happens when revival occurs.

Repent and believe and you will be saved. Repent and turn from evil and sin, and you are revived. Both require prayer, humility and repentance. For a believer our sin causes breach in fellowship – sins have been forgiven already, but “new sins” break fellowship with a daily walk with God.

After David repented and was restored – the Joy of his salvation returned. As a result of his Joy – David said I will tell others, I will teach them of your ways. A witness returns to the believer! Out of repentance and renewal revival comes. The Church returns to its task of sharing the Gospel and the Lost are saved!

I wonder what it will take for the Church today to become humbled? I have said many times “that unless the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of change, nothing will happen in our lives or the life of the Church. Let us be the sacrifice that David indicates God will accept – verse 17 – a broken and contrite heart you will not despise. May revival began today!

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