Some of the Psalms, the biblical ones, kind of make me uncomfortable. There are a lot of Psalms about destroying one’s enemies and delivering from foes. Looking back at them from this point in time, there’s a real disconnect between the some of the words of the psalmist and those of Jesus.
But, some of the Psalms really grab me. Take Psalm 51. Reader’s Digest version:
“Wash me, . . . cleanse me . . .” (v2).
“You [God] desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart” (v6).
“Purge me, . . . wash me . . .” (v7).
Getting spiritually clean seems to be a big deal, and those words are about the inward part of us — our inner spirit. And desiring truth and wisdom are an important part of that cleaning.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me” (10).
There is that word, “clean,” again, and “within.” There’s a pattern.
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit” (v12).
Christians usually talk about MY salvation; this Psalmist recognizes that salvation is divine. Being saved by God, a person then asks God to give them that all import “willing spirit.” We all too often don’t have and don’t want a willing spirit to be God’s and not our own.
“The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (v.17).
Along with “willing spirit,” add “broken spirit,” plus “broken and contrite heart.” When was the the last time we put on a pastor’s job description: Willing and broken spirit required. Broken and contrite heart essential — this to be a model for all of us in the church.
And we wonder why our churches seem like just another organization.