The Bare Soul
October 3, 2010
Intercessory Praise, Part III
Psalm 51:12-13 - Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You.
David's life was one steeped in prayer and praise. Jewish history ascribes 73 of the 150 psalms to this King of Israel. These are a rich library of his many conversations with the Lord Jehovah including melodic prayers of petition, supplication, and intercession. David's tender soul resonates in the poetic verses of one psalm as he rejoices in God's victory, and then in another he is in the depths of despair. Although David arguably ruled the most powerful Middle Eastern nation in 1000 B.C., the humanity he displayed in his writings becomes something very real to most of us who can relate with the everyday struggles that beset mankind. His brutal honesty is probably not equaled elsewhere in his writings as it is in Psalm 51 where he pleads for God's forgiveness after his sin of adultery with Bathsheba. The prophet Nathan exposes his king to the injustice he has created by first sinning with this married woman and then having her husband put to death by proxy (II Samuel 11). In this psalm, David seeks forgiveness for himself, but also for what he has done to the trust between God, himself, and those of his kingdom.
In the first nine verses of Psalm 51, David outlines his defense to the Lord which is a case for mercy. He knows that he has sinned and asks the Lord to forgive him for his iniquity. Psalm 51:10-13 becomes David's request to God for complete emancipation from sin's effect which will ultimately lead to God's glorification. In verse 10 he first implores his Maker for a clean heart, to disown any remnants of the sin that he once harbored. Also, the penitent king asks that God renew a steadfast spirit within, to enable him to remain focused on his fidelity toward God. In verse 11, he does not assume that just because his spirit is right that God will desire fellowship with him. He specifically states: Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Finally, in verse 12 we see that David understands that forgiveness without restoration is moot if he is to rule effectively as king. He knew better than anyone that in God's presence there was fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11) which would give him the strength and the ability to stay focused to turn from future sin. At the beginning of verse 13, we see the remarkable conjunction "then". At this juncture, David knows that if the Lord grants his request he would once again be in that position to intercede for others through the testimony of his life as an intercessory worshipper. He would be restored in the eyes of his nation to lead them as one who had failed but was now a living example of God's redemption. The King of Israel would no longer be a hypocrite in their eyes but someone who praised God for delivering him from the pit of sin and despair. His praise to God would once again resonate between earth and heaven for his kingdom.
Chronological to Psalm 51, King David's next psalm was probably written shortly after the Bathsheba affair. The overall theme of Psalm 32 is one of reflection concerning the mercy of God for his sin and forgiveness. This is particularly evidenced in the first seven verses. David opens the psalm with a declaration of God's love and redeeming grace, stating: How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit! (Psalm 32:1-2) In the next five verses, he tells how hard it was to conceal his sin. However, once he confessed it he was filled once again with the presence of the Lord. Once again, God had become David's hiding place (Psalm 32:7) as he had been so many times in the past. One might assume that the king had forgotten how close the Lord was to him as he hid him from Saul's wrath when he pursued young David. Now, he could once again find God in that secret place of "hiding" that kept him safe from the onslaught of the enemy's lies. For surely, the devil came to him and told David that his sin really wasn't forgiven and that he didn't deserve to be king. The restored king could turn from Satan's accusations and look in the face of his Redeemer with great joy of redemption and say: You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah. (Psalm 32:7) What follows in verses eight through eleven is a vivid example of David's restored position as an intercessory praise and worshipper. He instructs the wicked to not be as he was but to be set free by obeying God in all things. To continue in wickedness, he states, is to continue in sorrow; but the righteous, David says, are "surrounded" by lovingkindness. His intercessory worship for others comes to a crescendo as he ends this psalm with the high praises of God: Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones; and shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart. (Psalm 32:11)
Beloved, if we call Jesus Christ our Lord then we should recognize that we are made of the same stuff as David. The only thing that sets us apart from this ancient king is our ability to arrest our sin through humility and ask forgiveness as he did. If we walk in the light as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with God and man and the Lord is faithful to forgive and cleanse us (I John 1:7). The devil would desire that we hide our sin as David, because then we will not be effective as intercessory worshippers. If we can't praise God for his deliverance in our lives and others, then the devil has won the victory. If, however, we can lift up the Name of Jesus in thanksgiving and praise for not only our salvation but for others, then we put the enemy to flight. Everyone of us who call ourselves Christians have this responsibility, to praise God for the finished work of Calvary with hearts that are free from sin. Through that applied revelation, we will see the power of the evil one crushed and the high praises of God accomplishing great things all around us. May the Lord do so in all of us this day as we submit to Him!
Lord Jesus, thank you for the redemptive power of Your blood that makes us mighty to do intercessory battle. May the high praises of God be on our lips as we set the captive free through the intercessory praise You have ordained for all of us who call You Lord. In Your Name Most Holy Jesus Christ, Amen!
Your Barefoot Servant,
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