Week 20 May 13-19, 2018

Renowned preacher Adrian Rogers once famously said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”

In other words, our sin can destroy our lives.

Therefore, it is because of this debilitating power of sin that we are in desperate need of the renewing power of God to cleanse our dirty hearts and restore our wayward spirits.

In Psalm 51, we see the perfect portrait of a broken sinner reaching out for renewal from a healing God. In these verses, we enter the world of King David as he comes to grips with his damaging decisions to commit adultery with Bathsheba, and then his evil plot to ensure the death of her husband Uriah. After a season of keeping these sins a secret, God confronted David through the prophet Nathan about his evil transgressions. It was at this crucial moment of confrontation that David was finally willing to confess that this sin had not only destroyed a marriage and a life, but it was also destroying his soul.

King David realized he could no longer carry the heavy weight of his wicked ways, so he sought God’s grace and mercy through genuine words of remorse and repentance. And it is in those words captured in verses 7-12 of Psalm 51 that we discover both God’s power and purpose to renew our sinful souls when we are willing to confess our desperate need for his amazing grace.

First, we learn in verses 7-8 that through confession, God renews what is stained and broken by making it clean and whole.  In this passage, David begins by declaring to the Lord, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.” He acknowledges that he is dirty and broken before a holy God because of his sin, but also that God can easily pick up his broken pieces.

Second, verses 9-10 teach us that through confession, God renews what is guilty and wrong by making it innocent and right. David continues by asking God, “Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” He points out here that sin pollutes our hearts and guides our spirit down a path where we don’t want God. He confesses that he needs to have the penalty of his sin wiped clean, and he humbly asks God to restore his innocence.

Finally, in verses 11-12 we discover that through confession, God renews what is absent and full of sorrow, by making it complete and full of joy. David concludes this passage by pleading with God, “Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” In these final words, David reminds us that joy comes by being renewed in God’s presence and reminded of God’s salvation. He asks for his joy to be restored through a return to intimacy with His Creator. He knew that his choices stole all lasting joy from his life, but through his confession he was able to go back to the Lord as his the source of all joy and the author of eternal life.

Like David, we too need renewal in our lives because of the damage our sin has caused. God has both the power and the desire to restore what sin has destroyed, but the only requirement for renewal is true repentance expressed through daily confession. The Lord simply wants us to be honest and remorseful about our transgressions, and just as He did for David, He will give us a clean heart and a right spirit to turn back to Him with a renewed joy that our life and salvation come from Him and Him alone.

Renewing a Right Spirit Within Us

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Surprised by His Sovereign Choices

Throughout 1 Chronicles 17, we are reminded that God’s sovereign choices are very different than ours because His divine purposes are always higher than ours. In verse 4, the Lord rejects King David’s humble request to build Him a temple. Later in verse 7, God reminds David that he chose him as a mere shepherd of Jesse’s sheep to become the king of an entire nation. And finally, in verses 11-12, the Lord surprisingly reveals that He does want a temple to be built, but He declares that He has already chosen a future unborn son of David to finish the project.

The Trail That Leads to Temptation

The first verse of 2 Samuel 11 gives us a unique insight into how the trap of temptation starts with a long trail of poor decisions. The verse states, “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.” These few words clearly show that David was in a season of idleness back home, when he should have been out to battle with his troops. We later see it was this foolish choice that led him directly into the temptation of adultery that he committed with Bathsheba just a few verses later.

Breaking the Bread of Faith

In Acts 27:13-38 we encounter the vicious storm at sea that Paul and several hundred others survived in their journey from Crete to the island of Malta. Although these stormy conditions left little reason for trained seamen to have hope in their own survival, Paul was reassured by an angel of the Lord that they would reach their destination safely. After repeatedly urging the crew members to trust this promise, Paul decided in verses 35-36 simply to break bread in thanksgiving to God and eat each morsel as a sign of faith in God’s protection. It was this symbol of trust that finally encouraged the crew to eat and wait for God’s plan to unfold.

Week 21 Readings:  May 20 - May 26

-Day One:  2 Samuel 13-14; Acts 28

-Day Two:  2 Samuel 15-17; Psalm 3, 63; Romans 1

-Day Three:  2 Samuel 18-20; Psalm 34; Romans 2

-Day Four:  2 Samuel 21-23; Psalm 18; Romans 3

-Day Five:  2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21; Romans 4


Tips to Keep You on Track

          This week’s readings will take us through the final 12 chapters of 2 Samuel, as we witness the decline of David’s reign through the constant attacks of his own son Absalom. While you are reading these tragic accounts of David’s family turmoil, allow his life to teach you how you should view sin as a child of God. We know that David was a man after God’s own heart and that he was forgiven and cleansed through confession, but we also learn in these passages that sin leaves a lasting mark. God can forgive the sin and restore the sinner, but forgiveness does not mean the removal of consequences. David’s salvation was secure, but he had to endure hard trials as a result of making sinful choices that impacted everyone around him. Through David’s example, let us celebrate the true gift of forgiveness, but let us also remember that the sins of our lives will always leave stains behind.