This week, we’re going to learn to pray, “Lord, shape me.” Prayers where we ask God to examine our inner life to make sure we are in alignment with His will.
In Psalm 51, which David wrote after being confronted with his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, he prayed that God would forgive him of his sin and shape him for His glory. We can pray that God would shape us for His glory.
Below is an automated transcript of this messageIt is good to see all of you this morning and welcome to you that are watching online as well. We’re glad to be in this series; we’re continuing this series, entitled “Dangerous Prayers.” We’re in week three and we talk about dangerous prayers as opposed to safe prayers. When we say safe prayers, what we’re talking about is those kinds of prayers where we say, Lord, could You follow my plan? Could You do it my way? Lord, could You make my life as easy as possible and as comfortable as possible? rather than praying God change me, shape me, lead me and guide me, which is more dangerous because it involves change. It involves change in shaping their lives anew.
When I was a young man, I remember someone asking me, “What kind of old man do you want to be?” I remember thinking I was never going to get old. This question kind of flabbergasted me because I’ve never really thought about that. “What kind of old man do you want to be?” He went on to say, “The prayers that you’re praying right now are going to determine what kind of old man you’re going to be; the practice is the prayers. The habits you have right now will intensify who you’re going to be some day.”
You know, a lot of us deceive ourselves thinking that when we get older, we will probably not have this bad habit anymore. We will outgrow it. But the truth is, as we get older, we only become more of what we already are. It’s kind of like it gets set in concrete. We just keep on becoming more like we already are.
Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror to see if there are any wrinkles forming? I’ve got a really serious one right here in the middle, right between my eyebrows. It started somewhere in my twenties, according to my wife. My wife used to say to me, “Gary, you’re so intense,” and would take her finger and rub my forehead and she would say, “You need to relax it right there. You’re starting to get a wrinkle.” I have an intense personality, the way I faced life is very intense but I’m growing. You all pray for me. But the wrinkle is there. It’s there. Even when I’m not being intense and trying to be really happy, the wrinkle is still there. It has left a mark on me. I’m praying that God would give me some better wrinkles. Maybe some smile lines around my eyes or such things would be better than having an intense mark between my brow.
I’m praying that we would all pray together, “Lord, shape me and make me more like Jesus so that when people see me, they see less of me and more of Him.” This is a dangerous prayer because it means dying to your former life and asking God to create a new life in you.
We’ve been thinking about these dangerous prayers and how the Lord’s prayer informs these prayers. We pray, as the Lord taught us, “Our father, which art in heaven hallowed be thy name.” That’s kind of a “show me” prayer. Lord, I want to see from Your perspective. And then, we pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” which is kind of a “search me and make sure my will lines up with yours” prayer. Now we’re down to that section of the Lord’s prayer that says, “Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;” it’s this idea of of “sustain us and and pour out such forgiveness in us so that it marks us and marks the way deal with other people.” You can kind of look at that part of the prayer. It’s about us. Give us and forgive us. Go to work on us, go to work on me.
In Psalm 51, David wrote this Psalm after being confronted with his sin of adultery and all of the ramifications that came out of that sin and the lives that were hurt and affected because of his sin. He wrote this psalm as an outcry to God, asking God to help him and to make him new because he didn’t like what he saw in the mirror.
I believe, as we pray today and we hear God’s word today, that we can pray that God would shape us for His glory. That’s what David prayer is like: I want to glorify you God, I don’t want my life to be an embarrassment to you. We can pray like David, for God to shape us for His glory. How can we do it?
As we look at the text today, I think we’ll see three kinds of prayers. asking God to shape us for His glory. Are you ready to dig in? Let’s dig into Psalm 51. We’re not going to do the whole psalm; we will take on 7 to 17 today due to the interest of time. So let’s start at verse Psalm 51:7-17 (ESV) 7 ”Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9 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. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. 14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” This is God’s word. Amen.
We’re looking for three prayers .
Dear Lord, shape me for Your glory by … 1. Cleansing me. I want you to first look at verse 10 because Verse 10 really contains the theme of David’s prayer. He says, “Create in me.” Circle that word, “create,” in your notes. It could be translated “to shape.” We encounter this word in the Hebrew. The Hebrew word here is bara.
The first time we encounter this word, create, is the first verb in the Bible. It’s the second word in the Bible. Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created…” There’s that word in the Hebrew. It’s the second word, the first verb Bereshit Barra Elohim. So it begins at the head. In the beginning, He created. God created the heavens and the earth.
And so, David starts off with this word “bara.” David is harkening back to the first verb of the Bible. He says, I need you to do that in me, Lord, because my heart is broken and covered with sin and shame.
C. H. Spurgeon, in his book, “The Treasury of David,” encounters this verse. He says, “What! Has sin so destroyed us, that the Creator must be called in again?” Well, that’s how David is praying. He’s praying a Genesis 1:1 kind of prayer on his heart. He prays, God, I need, not just You to repair this. I don’t just need a bypass. I need a heart transplant. I need a new heart. I need you to clean it up, Lord.
He begins to pray some verbs here, too. In verse seven, it talks about cleansing and what it looks like. He says,”Purge me.” Now, that’s an interesting word, “purge.” If you look that word up in the English Dictionary, it has this sense of removal in an abrupt and violent way. David wants to get serious about his sin. He wants the Lord to get it out of him . He wants Him to cut it out, rub it out, get rid of it. I’m tired of the sin patterns in my life. I’m tired of the attitudes I’m trying.Lord, I’m sick and tired of it. Purge me of it and get serious with me, Lord, on this. Purge it.
He says, “Purge me with hyssop.” Hyssop is a plant. It’s a small, bushy, aromatic plant that is found in the Middle East. Pop up the photo here. I Googled it; right, that’s how we learn everything today, right? And so, this is, what a hyssop plant looks like. You can see how it could be something that you could dip into a liquid and the liquid would hang on to it. Hyssop was like an early paintbrush, if you will, or an early, spongy like material.
If you go to the book of Exodus, God told Moses that He was getting ready to send an angel of death over Egypt and the firstborn of every house will die. So that the angel of death would pass over the Hebrew homes of Israel, they were to take this and dip it in the blood of a sacrificed lamb. Paint the door to each house, on the lentil and on the door post, with the blood of the lamb with hyssop as your paintbrush.
When David is saying this, I want to understand something. “Purge me with hyssop” is a clear reference to this sacrificial system that we find in Exodus and Leviticus. He recognizes the only way to get rid of this is it’s going to require blood. It’s going to require violence. It’s going to require a purging. We can make this observation. It’s a clear symbol. The Passover points to Jesus. Those little lambs that they sacrificed were only checks written on a future deposit. Jesus is the lamb of God and He died a violent death. He died on the cross and His blood was shed. And so, David is saying, Lord, purge me with your blood. Purge me with the blood of the lamb.
When we pray a dangerous prayer like this, we recognize, You know what? I need to change and I can’t change myself. The only way to get rid of the sin in me is to ask for the blood of Jesus to cleanse me and to purge it. Get it out of me, Lord, get it out of me. Verse seven, “Purge me.” So we see this, if you will purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean, this seems to be a judicial act. In other words, now you’re clean before God the almighty judge because the blood has been applied. Now you’re clean. Yet you might not feel clean judicially before God, you’re clean. You might not be experiencing it now.
David is not finished. He says, “Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.” This seems to have more of the experiential side of it. David’s not satisfied with just the head knowledge that, Okay, I know that the blood of the Lamb will purge me of my sin. I need to feel it so that I’m whiter than snow. A lot of us are here today and in your head, you know, you’ve received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. I’ve asked him to forgive me of my sins, but yet there is shame that remains in us from certain sin areas that we feel. Man, that was a bad one or one that we keep doing, repetitive sin, the ones that you thought after I got saved, I wouldn’t have that addiction anymore. I thought I would lose that bad temper. You’re starting to feel like that part’s not forgiven. You might believe that you’re forgiven in your head, but in your experience, you’re still struggling.
David, he goes. I want to know, not only, that I’m right with you but I want to feel, I want to know the experience of being free from sin and the shame that goes with it. And so, he praised this two-part prayer. And then, he says in verse 8, “Let me hear joy and gladness.” You could almost add the word again because there hadn’t been a lot of singing going on.
Remember what I told you that he had committed sin? If you read the inscription at the beginning of Psalm 51, it’s after Nathan the prophet came to him and confronted him with this sin of adultery with a woman named Bathsheba. And so, now, David has been confronted with this sin. He’s experiencing the consequences of sin and the joy is gone. The joy of my salvation is gone. The singing is gone. In fact, he says that he can’t even stand before God because his bones have been broken by Him. He feels distant from God, and he knows it’s on him, and he knows he can’t clean himself up. Come on, my bones were broken. Let me hear joy again.
Then in verse nine, he says, “Hide your face from my sins.” In other words, don’t look at sin when you look at me. Don’t see sin; clean me up so you don’t see that anymore when you see me. Today, as we look at it from this side of the cross, (David’s prior to the cross; we are on the other side), we pray that when You look at me, look at me through the lens of the cross because Jesus paid it all.
How many of our sins did Jesus die? Did He die for all of our past sins? Yes. What about the sins we have committed today; did anybody sin today? You don’t need to raise your hands. I see. Did you sin in the car on the way here because your kids drove you crazy before you got here? We still struggle with sin in this world. He has forgiven past, present and future sins. He died for all of them.He paid for all of them. His blood is sufficient to cover all sin, yet it must be applied.
David says, “Purge me with hyssop.” Apply it to me. Apply it to the door of my heart, apply it to my life and then clean it out so I can experience cleanliness in my life. I want to be holy before You. I want to be clean. When You look at me, I don’t want You to see the sin anymore.
And then, David says in verse 9, “and blot out all my iniquities.” It’s like he’s saying, God, I knowYou have records. I know you have a book and I know you have a record of my wrongs. Would you mark it out with that red pin that’s filled with the blood of Jesus? Would you mark it out? Blot it out so there’s not even any record. The New Testament says that He has canceled the record of our sin on the cross by nailing it to the cross and leaving it there. David is praying like this, Lord, cleanse me, I can’t get clean now.
When I was a child, I would be playing outside all day. Where I grew up, once school was out, you didn’t put your shoes back on except for Sundays. You played outside barefooted. Can I get a witness? Does anybody remember this? I know the older people remember. You didn’t have anything to do in the house, so you played outside all day. I would get filthy and my mom would put me and my brother, who is four years younger, in the bathtub. She would say, “Don’t forget to wash behind your ears.” My mom was very particular about what was going on behind our ears and she’d come back and check on us. Of course, we’d splash and have a big time. We’d forget to wash behind our ears. She would come back to check and she would say, “You did not listen.” You did not want my mother cleaning behind your ears. I mean, I’m surprised I have ears. She would come after them. My mother took this word, “purge,” literally. She tried to purge the dirt from behind my ears. She acted abruptly and violently behind my ears.
David is saying, Father, there’s dirt in my life that I can’t get out, Purge me, cleanse me, make me whiter than snow. If there’s any record of it anywhere, could You blot it out? You see, David got serious about his sin. He said, Clean me up, Lord. You’ve already broken me. I’m broken now. Clean me up.
You know, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks about the sin of adultery and He talks about getting serious about cutting it out, getting rid of it. He said, in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:27-30 (ESV) 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” This is not Jesus, meek and mild, is it? Get serious with sin. Get serious with the attitudes that move you towards sin. He takes the Ten Commandments and takes them up a notch. It’s not just an action; It’s the attitude that precedes the action. Which leaves us all sinners. Well, I’ve never committed adultery. If you have ever looked with lustful eyes, Jesus says you’ve committed adultery. All of the men present are thinking they were safe with that commandment. Are you struggling men? Young men, especially? Are you struggling with pornography? Are you struggling with the sin of pornography? You’re committing adultery with your eyes. Now, do we need to have a lot of men in here with eye patches on and a hook on one hand? Should the church be marked by one armed and one eyed men? I don’t think the ladies would want that. I don’t think the man would want to do that. I don’t think that’s what Jesus means. I think He’s using hyperbole. He’s using extreme measures here to recognize that God takes sin seriously. He wants you to take it seriously, too. He takes it so seriously that He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to shed His blood on a cruel cross for you and I. Let’s not take it lightly. Take it seriously now. God’s not interested in your self mutilation, so you can relax, but He does take your sin seriously.
How do we handle it? Not by cutting off your hand or plucking out your eye, but by agreeing with God that you’re a sinner. It says in 1 John 1:9 (NKJV) “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If we confess our sins, that means to agree with God. God, I agree with You. I’m a sinner. I confess. He forgives us which makes us right with Him. That’s a judicial act. And then, He cleanses us, which is an experience. We experience forgiveness. It’s poured out on us so that we are set free from sin and shame.
So what could do this? Can we do it ourselves? No. (Song) “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me hold again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Purge me, Lord. He’s died for me. Cleanse me, cleanse me with His blood. I won’t take my sin lightly because I know the cost that was paid to cleanse me.
When you pray dangerous prayers, you get serious with God. You say, God, look at me and let me look in the mirror and let me see where the “wrinkles” are forming. Help me to get clean because I know you take sin seriously. I’m becoming like Jesus; that’s my prayer and I take sin and me seriously. Now look, we all take other people’s sin seriously, don’t we? But we have a hard time looking in the mirror. We’re all good at judging others , but we have a hard time looking at ourselves.
Dear Lord, shape me for Your glory by … 2. Renewing me.
Look down at verse 10 again and circle the word “renew.” “Create me a clean heart, o God and renew a right spirit within me.” A right spirit, a right mode of thinking. The word, “spirit,” here is referring to his spirit, not to the Holy Spirit but to his life force. It’s the Hebrew word, “ruwach,” which is found if you go all the way back to Genesis again when He fashioned Adam. He made him from the dust of the earth and then He breathed into him and made him a living soul. “Ruwach” is God’s breath of all of creation. Only humanity is made in the image of God and is empowered with this eternal value; of this “ruwach” being blown into him.
David says, My spirit is not right. I need a new heart and I need a new mode of living. I need a new identity. I need a right spirit. Would you do that for me? Renew me, Lord, make me new. And then David tells God some things that he’s afraid of. He gives his fears to God because he’s afraid that this is going to happen: “Cast me not away from your presence.” Lord, Don’t throw me away. I want to be useful for You.I’m a called person. I’m called to be a husband. I’m called to be a wife. I’m called to be a mother, a father. You fill in the blank, whatever the calling God has on your life.
Somebody here needs to hear this. Somebody at home needs to hear this. You think you’ve sinned. Now you’re a believer but you think you’ve stumbled and failed and now your calling is gone. Now you can’t do what God called you to do. You’ve waited too long. You’ve been disobedient. Whatever you’re thinking, you can think like David is here and you can pray just like him. You can say, Lord, don’t throw me away. Don’t cast me from your presence. Cast me not from your presence. It’s not too late. Come on, Lord, Can you and I be right with each other? Would you renew in me a new spirit? Don’t throw me away.
And then, David says in verse 11, “and take not your Holy Spirit from me.” Now, can I give you a quick theological understanding of this; of the Holy Spirit’s Ministry in the Old Testament and the New Testament. So “sidebar” for a second because this latter part of verse 11 confuses us. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit was given, and you’ll often see that He was “on” someone. You’ll hear that He was on Saul, who was the king before David; He was on Saul to be king. He anointed him with the Spirit. We can go ahead and keep reading that God took His Spirit from Saul because of Saul’s rebellion. The Holy Spirit dwelled among His people, but not within His people. Pentecost is when the Holy Spirit was given. Jesus says, “I must go so the other can come, the comforter.” The Holy Spirit can come, and it’s better for you that I do this because He will abide in you and live in you.
So we are on this side of the cross, praise God. That’s where we are. He lives in us. And the scripture says, “Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.” We don’t have to pray in fear saying, Holy Spirit, don’t leave me, or Father, don’t take Your Holy Spirit away from me. David did, because he saw what happened to King Saul. Perhaps he’s thinking here , God’s going to remove His anointing from me. Don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me, okay? That seems to be in view there but on our side of the cross, we don’t have to fear that He will leave us, but we do need to be concerned that we might grieve the Holy Spirit and hinder our fellowship with God.
Ephesians 4:30 (ESV) “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” The word, “sealed,” has a sense of permanence. It’s a done deal.
There’s a certain kind of creamer that my wife and I like to use in our coffee and and when you first screw off the lid, there is a seal inside. I keep a pair of needle nose pliers nearby to get that thing off. That’s things not just child protected , it’s human protected. If Robin gets to it first, she just takes something and pokes a hole in it. But I’m a neat freak, so I get my needle nose pliers and I get that seal off and then I screw the lid back on. The Holy Spirit seals you for eternity; it’s a done deal. It’s gotta permanence to it. You can’t get it off with needle nose pliers. “Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.” He lives within you.
Your body is a temple. Where do you take your body? What do you do with your body? It impacts the Holy Spirit. Christian , listen to me. Because He lives in you, it feels like somebody died. What’s wrong, Lord? Why do I feel this? That’s what you should pray for. Pray, Lord, tell me what it is, clean it up and renew me. I don’t want to hurt You. I don’t want You to be grieved by my life. When we receive Christ the Savior, He gives us the Spirit that renews us.
Paul wrote to Titus, Titus 3:4-6 (ESV) 4 “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Renew me, Lord, I want a right Spirit Lord. I don’t want to be thrown away. I want to be useful.
This is how David is praying. You see, God makes us new. When we receive Christ, it says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” So, live like it; you’re a new creation. Live like it. Take it seriously. Don’t just pray your “laundry list” to God. Pray, God look at me. We prayed this last week. This was our prayer last week, “search me.” This week, David prays for God to purge it, get it out and put a renewed spirit, a right spirit within him. I wanna live for you. Put on the new nature.
Paul says in Colossians 3:10 (NLT) “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” Lord, make me like Jesus. Put on your new nature.
There was a father who had a teenage son. The son had just turned 16 and had gotten his driver’s license. He comes to his father and asks, “Dad, I’ve got a date this Friday night. I’ve got a girlfriend. Can I borrow the car?” The father says, “Son, I’m going to let you borrow the car. You’ve been good. You’ve got your driver’s license. Here’s the keys, but look, the curfew is 11 o’clock.” The son says, “Come on, Dad, you know the movie will last longer and I won’t be able to get home by 11.” The father says, “Pick a different movie. Your curfew is 11pm.” The son says, “Okay” and he heads out later that night. You know how this goes, right? Because we all used to be teenagers, and some of you still are. Later that night, along about 11:15, the father is pacing. He’s looking out the window. Where is my boy? At 11:30, the car pulls up. The son tip toes to the door, eases the key in as quickly and easily as he possibly can. He’s aware of every squeaky spot in every part of the floor because he knows his home well. He sneaks into his bedroom, not cutting on one light, and slides into the bed with a sense of I didn’t get caught. The next morning, Saturday morning, the father and the son are sitting at the breakfast table. The father’s at the head of the table with his newspaper. Remember when people used to read those? He’s sitting at the head of the table with his newspaper up in front of his face. The son is sitting at the opposite of the table. He usually sits right beside his father, but he’s at the opposite end of the table, and he’s kind of stirring around his scrambled eggs. The mother, the wife, she’s sitting there looking at these two men thinking, What’s going on with these two guys? They’re always usually talking about fishing or hunting. What has happened? There is not a word spoken between them. It is complete silence, so she asks the son, “So how was your date?” The son replies, with a simple, “It was good.” What’s going on here? The father is still the father in this story. The son is still the son. The relationship is intact. They still are eating at the same table. What’s awry? What’s wrong? Their fellowship is hindered. The father has not left his son. They’re still in a relationship. But the father is offended, and the son has yet to confess. Now, he’s not going to kick him out of the house. He still loves him, but there’s a division here. There’s a hindrance here between them. The son feels the awkwardness and finally gives. “Dad, I gotta tell you something. I was a little bit late last night. You didn’t say anything to me about it, but it’s bothering me. I was about five or 10 minutes late.” The father says, “Actually, you were 30 minutes late. I was watching out the window. But son, I’m so happy that you confessed it to me.” And then, the laughter begins and they start talking. The father says to the son, “By the way, you’re mowing the yard today.” They were back talking again. The relationship was never at risk, but the fellowship was hindered. The son had grieved his father.
Can you pray like David? Purge me of my sin. I confess it to you. Clean me up. Make us right with one another again. Absolutely, you can.
Dear Lord, shape me for Your glory by … 3. Delighting in me.
Here’s the third prayer. David is not satisfied until God delights in him, and not just that but that they are okay. I don’t really want to talk to you anymore. I mean, yeah, I forgive you, but let’s not ever see each other again. David’s not satisfied with that. He wants to delight the Lord, and he wants the Lord to do whatever it takes in his life so that he’s happy with David.
So let’s keep reading here, starting at verse 13. Here’s the word I’m after; if you go down to verse 16, “for you will not delight.” He talks about what? What won’t delight the Lord? And then, in verse 17, he tells us what will delight the Lord. Do you see the contrast? Let’s “unpack” it. The word you can circle is the word, “delight,” to know where this prayer comes from.
In verse 13, he’s basically saying, If you will cleanse me and renew me, I will teach transgressors your ways and sinners will return to You. In other words, I will tell the story of my testimony. I’m not gonna hide it that I was an adulterer and You forgave me and You cleansed me. We know it’s in the Bible for all of us to read about in second Samuel. David, the man that God said, “is a man after my own heart,” was an adulterer. David prayed, If you’ll cleanse me and and renew me, I’ll teach other sinners because I will know how they feel because I’m a sinner, too. I’ll teach them and they will return to you.
David then says, in verse 14, “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness.” What is he talking about here? Perhaps you don’t remember the story over in 2 Samuel, because here’s what happens. Sin always leads to more sin when you try to cover it up; it leads to more sin and more sin. It’s a slippery slope. David was up on the roof of his palace. The Bible says, “In the season when Kings go to war, David stays home.” He’s already in the wrong place; he goes up on his roof. He’s bored. Boredom is a problem. He looks around. He sees a woman, ironically, named Bathsheba, taking a bath on the roof of her house. David has a harem, he’s got multiple wives, but he doesn’t have her. So he sends a servant over to get her and bring her over to the house. He lays with her and she becomes pregnant. She sends word; she says, “I’m with child.” He must cover this up, so he knows that her husband’s name is Uriah; all the men are off the war, and so he sends a servant to go and bring Uriah back. He tells general Joab, the general of the army, to carry a message that I need Uriah to come home. So Uriah comes home and David gets him to drink some wine. Uriah gets a little bit tipsy and David says, “you go home and spend the night with your wife tonight, and then in the morning, I will give you the message.” Do you see what Dave was trying to do? He’s trying to cover up who the father of the baby was because he didn’t want that word to get out . But Uriah slept on the doorstep; he would not go in his house. David heard about it. He asked him, “Why did you sleep outside?” Uriah answers, “My king, how could I go and enjoy the comfort of my wife in the comfort of my bed in my home when my brethren are sleeping on the cold ground outside of a city wall where we’re doing battle. How could I do that?” And so, the king gives him the message. Don’t you open it. Give it straight to General Joab. Here’s the message, “Send Uriah to the wall and when you get close to the wall, pull the other soldiers back so that Uriah dies.” David conspired to have Uriah murdered. Be sure your sins will find you out. Be sure that when you step on that first little sin, you step over, you get on a slippery slope that leads to much brokenness. That’s why David prays, “deliver me from bloodguiltiness” because he’s guilty of murder.
When we first started the church, I had to wear a lot of hats. I was the worship pastor, the preaching pastor and the youth pastor. We had a youth group in my garage on Tuesday nights. It met in my garage, and I used to give them an assignment at the beginning of the year, and it was to memorize the 10 Commandments. They would take a few weeks to do that. And then, I would break them up into teams and I’d say, “Read this account of David, Bathsheba and Uriah and tell me how many commandments David broke.” Many of the teams would come back and make a good case that he broke all 10 or at least nine of the ten. They struggled a little bit on whether or not he broke the Sabbath. That was the only one that they weren’t sure about; if David sinned on the Sabbath, he got all 10 and they made their case. I still remember the youth working through that story and helping them to understand that once you’ve sinned one sin, it’s easy to keep on digging that ditch.
But David says, “Get this blood guilt off of me.” Like in “Lady Macbeth,” Shakespeare’s story, she couldn’t get the blood of murder off of her hands. When David looks at his hands,he still sees bloodguilt. Lord, clean me up. I want You to delight in me. I can’t serve you with these bloody hands right now.
In verse 14, “I will sing of your righteousness.” In verse 15, “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.” If you will strengthen my mouth to open, I’ll preach. I’ll declare Your praise. So you see what David’s saying, God, I want you to delight in me. I want to be a good witness. I want to give my testimony. I want to preach. Whatever you want me to do, God, I’m going to do it. But You need to help me with the sin problem and this guilt problem.
David says something kind of startling, in verse 16. It’s not as startling to us, but it’s very startling during this time period because God had given them the sacrificial system to pay for their sins. He says, 16 “ For you will not delight in sacrifice or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.” Here’s what David is saying. He’s saying that if it is just outward religiosity, if it’s just going through the rituals, if my heart’s not right, then the offering means nothing.
You’re sitting here thinking, I’m checking off a box. That’s gonna be a good week. God’s going to be happy with me today. I came to church. I actually watched it online today, so I know it’s going to be a great week. You’re thinking magical thinking. You’re thinking religious thinking. You’re thinking that is how to please God, but it’s not. The only way to please God is by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and asking Him to cleanse you of your sins through the blood of Jesus. That’s the only thing that pleases God. You can’t earn righteousness. And so, what he’s saying is that if I thought You would delight in me, the king, with all kinds of cattle and sheep, I could bring the biggest offering that ever got brought to the temple. I could bring it all here, but I know that’s not what You’re looking for. You’re looking for a sacrifice to give You me, all of me. That’s what you’re looking for, Lord, all of me. I want You to delight in me. You won’t delight in that; You will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
He’s got these words, “delight” and “pleased.” What does it mean? Ask God to delight in you. If you look that word up in the dictionary, it says, “to be perfectly happy with someone or something,” “to be pleased without any area of lack of pleasure,” “to be completely satisfied and accepting of.” I want You to accept me. I want You to delight in me.
David continues in verse 17, “ The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Despise is the opposite of delight. I know if I give You my whole life, if I hold nothing back, You’ll delight in that. Lord, that’s what I give You today and I want You to delight in me. Psalm 147:11 (NIV) “the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Have you decided to put Him first in your life? Do you just really want God on your side? Can you get on the Lord’s side and say, Lord, I want You to delight in me.
Romans 12:1 (ESV) “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Underline that word, “acceptable.” If you look that verse up, it means “to be delightful.” I want You to delight in me, Lord. I’m offering my body as a living sacrifice to You. Paul seems to have the same thing in view that David had here. I’m not going to give you a burnt offering because the Lord Jesus has already made that deposit. We don’t have to do that anymore, but I’m gonna offer my life to You as a living sacrifice; may that delight You, Lord.
David prays in Psalm 17:8 (ESV) “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of yourwings.” Lord, I want to be Your favorite. I want to be the apple of Your eye.
Are you anybody’s favorite? Your mom’s favorite. Your dad’s favorite? How about your grandfather’s grandmother’s favorite? I hope you are your spouse’s favorite. Sometimes my wife will tell me, “Thank you so much. You’re the best husband,” and I’ll say, “I’m the best husband you ever had.”
Here’s David praying to God. You see, God, I want to be your favorite. I want to be the apple of your eye. I’m not satisfied with just getting right with you. I want You to delight in me. Have you ever prayed like that? That’s a dangerous prayer. It’s going to involve life change. Clean me up. Give me a new spirit. Make me right with You and, more than that, make me a delight to You, Lord. I want to be a delight to the Lord Jesus. Will you pray that dangerous prayer? Would you join me this week in praying that kind of prayer?
Let’s pray. Lord, first I pray for that person that’s here today, whether they are in person or watching online, that has never committed their life to Christ. They’ve never said, “purge me” of my sin, apply the blood of Jesus sacrificed on the cross for me and cleanse me. Would you pray that right now? Dear Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner. Would you admit that? Confess it. I’m a sinner. I need a Savior. I believe You died on the cross for me. I believe that You were raised from the grave and that you live today. I believe it. Come and live in me, forgive me of my sin. I repent. I want to change. Forgive me of my sin and adopt me into God’s family. I want to be a child of God. If you’re praying that prayer now, believing, the Lord Jesus will save you. He will make you His own. He’ll forgive you. Others are here today and you’ve received Christ as Savior and Lord. But you’ve stumbled back into a place. You’re wallowing in your shame or your guilt. You don’t have to be stuck there. Confess it. You’ve grieved the spirit and you feel it, but you don’t have to stay there. Come on, confess it right now. Father, forgive me. I know You’ve already forgiven me by the blood of Jesus, but help me to be washed clean of it. I know I’m right with You through Jesus, but I need to know that You’re still using me and that You haven’t put me out. That you haven’t cast me away. Lord, I need to know. I want You to be delighted in me. Lord, I lifted all of this up to You now, in the name of Jesus. Amen.