Friday, May 18, 2007

Psalm 51: When God is Glad

In the pain
of my confession
it's hard to recollect
the fleeting pleasures
of my sin.
My shame
hides your face.
My anguish
drowns out your voice.
The lingering visions
of what I've done
my soul
my heart
my thoughts.
I want to undo
I've done.
I want
to turn back time
so that
my thoughts would be
and my hands would be
lust was born
the deed was done.
I can't undo
what dark pleasure has wrought.
So I come to you
just as I am.
I bow before you
shamed and unclean.
The searching light
of your righteousness
puts fear in my heart
reveals more stains than
I ever thought I had.
I bow before you
because I've nowhere else
to go.
I confess to you
because I've no other
There's no place
to run
There's no place
to hide.
I can't escape
what I have done.
I can't erase
my stains.
So in my grief
I ask for one thing.
I long
to hear You sing.
I long
to see You rejoice.
For when my ears are graced
with Your song
and when I am blessed
by Your gladness
and when the angels
then I can be sure
that I've been given
the greatest
of gifts
the miracle
of miracles
the thing that only love
could purchase
the blessing that only love
could offer;

"Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you've crushed rejoice." Psalm 51:8

"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

"I tell you that in the same way there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." Luke 15:7

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Psalm 51: Sin is a Relationship

Sin is much, much more than the violation of a set of rules. Sin is more profound then rebellion against a moral code. Sin is about something deeper than behaving inappropriately. It's deeper than bad actions and wrong words.

When you witness the body of an infant who's not yet able to communicate with words, stiffen up in anger, you know you're dealing with something bigger, deeper, more fundamentally disturbing than a failure to observe a code of conduct. The infant is angry because you're asking him to do what he doesn't want to do. He's outraged that you'd presume to give him directions. He wants to be the king and lawgiver in his own little universe of one. He doesn't want to live under the authority of another. He wants to make up his own rules; rules that would, of course, follow the shape of what he wants, what he feels, and what he determines he needs. The only thing that would actually satisfy him is the one thing that he'll never have, God's position. He was created to live under authority, not to be that authority. So he fights his subjugation in a vain quest for self-sovereignty.

It's the desire to be God rather than to serve God that's at the bottom of every sin that anyone has ever committed. Sin isn't first rooted in a philosophical debate of the appropriateness or healthiness of a certain ethic. No, sin is rooted in my unwillingness to find joy in living my life under the authority of, and for the glory of, Another. Sin is rooted in my desire to live for me. It's driven by my propensity to indulge my every feeling, satisfy my every desire, and meet my every need.

This is why David says, "Against you, you only, have I sinned..." He isn't denying the enormity of his sin against Bathsheba, his violation of his calling to the citizens of Israel, or his capital crimes against Uriah, Bathsheba's husband. What he's understanding in his confession is that every sin is against God. In his conviction, David understands that sin is an act of relationship, or better stated, a violation of the one relationship that's to be the shaping factor of everything I do or say. Every sin is vertical, no matter how thunderous the horizontal implications of it are. It's God, for whom and through whom we were created to live, whose boundaries that we step over, because we don't love him the way that we should.

Because sin is about the breaking of relationship, restoration of relationship is the only hope for us in our struggle with sin. It's only because God is willing to love us in a way that we refuse to love him, that we have any hope of defeating sin. It's through the gift of adoption into relationship with him, that we find what we need to gain power over sin. And what do we need? A greater love for him than we have for ourselves. His love for us is the only thing that has the power to produce in us that kind of love for him.

Sin is a relationship and it takes relationship to deliver us from sin. Christ was willing to experience the rejection that our rebellion deserves so that we could have the relationship with God that's our only hope as we grapple with the selfishness of sin.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Psalm 51: The Holy of Holies

In the holy of holies,
Where my deepest thought dwells.
In the secret place,
Of the heart,
Where no one sees,
And no one knows.
In that place where worship,
Sets the course,
For all I say,
And all I do.
In the holy of holies
Where thoughts,
Afraid to be verbal,
And desires,
Never quite spoken
What I will seek,
And say,
And do.
In holy of holies,
Where greed lurks dark,
And anger stands dangerous.
In the shadows,
Where lust captivates,
And envy enslaves.
In that sacred place,
Of the heart,
Where I plan what I will do,
And rehearse what I will say.
In the holy of holies,
Where love is born,
Or succumbs to hate.
Where gentleness,
Falls to vengeance.
In that place where,
Thinking never ends,
And interpretations,
Become a way of seeing.
In the holy of holies,
Where feelings grow in power,
And overwhelm,
What is sensible,
And true.
In the holy of holies,
Where I stand naked,
All covering gone,
Before you,
What I am,
As I am,
Void of defense,
Stripped of excuse.
Nowhere to hide,
No reputation to polish.
In the place where you,
Can see,
And hear,
And know.
May you do there,
What I cannot do.
May you create there,
What only mercy can give.
May you hold back,
What I deserve,
And give what,
I could never earn.
May you create in me,
A clean heart.