Dealing With The Darker Side of Desire by Rob Nash. Text: Psalm 51

This is a message from Psalm 51 I gave yesterday.  




WElCOME

Hi, I am Pastor Rob, and it is a pleasure sharing with you God’s word today. Jeff is down at Converge preaching from the same text. We love you guys and the ability to open this book and talk about what is going on. I want to begin with a roundabout way.

INTRODUCTION

Robert Louis Stevenson at the age of 35, in 1885, penned the Strange Tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. What would you do if you could satisfy all your desires through an ingenious disguise and not get caught? Would you drink a potion to that end? Dr. Jekyll did, turning himself into Mr. Hyde. This tale by Stevenson explores the consequences of inner evil left to itself.  We all have to manage our darker tendencies and their consequences. People struggle with shame over things spoken years before; they feel bad about not doing something when someone else was alive, they carry the pain of doing things long ago in their youth. How do we live with our past as well as our present? Maybe part of us enjoys the darkness, and another part wants it buried and to move on. How do we manage the darkness within us? Some try to self-medicate a solution with drink or drugs. Some run to thrill or fantasy for diversion. Some bury themselves in work as a distraction. Some look to materialism. Some eat. Some sleep. Some read and some exercise. How do we purge regret? How do we forget? How do we move forward away from sin? One author states, “You forget what you want to remember and remember what you want to forget” (Cormac McCarthy, The Road).

Our problem is sin. The Bible has an answer to how we handle sin. Turn with me to Psalm 51. We are continuing with our series in the Psalms. This Psalm is a confession and an expression of repentance. This Psalm is a guide and prayer. Out of the soul of one of the greatest kings of Israel, David, comes a passionate plea for God’s mercy, offering the reader a voice for his or her way through a mountain of shame.

51 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. 1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. 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. 18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; 19 then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

PRAY

Thank you. Let us pray. Dear, God. May Your Word lodge in our hearts. Fill us with faith, believing You are whom You say You are and can do what You say You do. We have sinned in thought, word, and deed. We have not loved You with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. God, we need You. We need Your mercy, we need Your grace, we need Your forgiveness, and we need Your love. Help us now as the word is being preached to hear David’s prayer. Some here carry a world of ache, pain, baggage, guilt, and shame. Help us hear Your Word. Open our eyes and soften our hearts. Humble us. Reform us. Transform us. In Jesus name Amen.

WHERE ARE WE GOING

What is the context of Psalm 51? Psalms are prayers and songs for worship and devotion. Psalm 51 is no exception. It begins,

51 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.   

David was the second King of Israel. He was God’s anointed one and man after God’s own heart. Yet, he had grown complacent and lazy. One afternoon, when he should have been away in battle with his men, he was home at one of the highest places of the city, his roof, looking out. He spied a young woman bathing, he knew her or at least her husband. He wanted more. He wanted her. He succumbed to lust and took her. Not too long afterward, she sent a message that she was pregnant with his child. David betrayed his mighty man, her husband, Uriah. A man who had risked his life to save David and fought his battles for him. How did David deal with his sin? David crafted a coverup. He invited Uriah home, hoping he would spend his time with his wife and conclude the child was his.  No dice. Uriah would not relax and enjoy his marital rights while his comrades were fighting the king’s battles. This only made David look sleazier and lazier.  How does David deal with his past? His cover-up was not working. David hatched another fix. He sent Uriah back with a sealed note for the commander of the army. The note told the commander to advance the troops with Uriah at the head, then order a retreat without telling Uriah, essentially killing him. It would be a convenient “accident.” The commander complied. Uriah died. That was how David dealt with sin. So David committed not only adultery but murder. Time passed. Then we get to 2 Samuel chapter 12 and the Prophet of God, Nathan, requested to speak to David. David gives him an audience. Nathan begins with a story.

“There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him.


4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”


5 Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan,


“As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6 and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”

7 Nathan said to David,

“You are the man!  [You are the Man]

Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. 8 And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. 9 Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.


WHY? David why?  A thousand times why? God pronounced judgment on King David. He did not get a pass because of his position, past spirituality, or present power. Read on if you like to find the painful discipline of the Lord. David summarized God’s response as crushing his bones in verse 7 of Psalm 51. Moreover, if you read 2 Samuel chapter 12 with an ounce of imagination, you will feel the crushing weight.   

Tragedy. Consequence. Loss. It is after this point that David picked up a pen and wrote Psalm 51. How did David deal with his ugly history? The Bible navigates the murky waters of guilt, sorrow, shame in these verses. I see several patterns in David’s words that help us work through our swamp of sin. David moved to God with four steps that are not necessarily sequential. He took   
  1. A Step of Confession (Preface - v.1, 3-5)
  2. A Step of Belief (v. 1)
  3. A Step of Petition (v. 1-2, 6-12)
  4. A Step of Repentance (v. 13-17)
This morning I want to walk through those four steps, comment on the last two verses, and offer you a challenge.

CONFESSION

The first step I see here is one of confession. Maybe, the stated context was an editorial addition, but it was true, and people knew it. In verses 1-3, David described his actions as sin, transgression, and iniquity. Those words all mean the same thing. His actions were offensive to God, and he knew it. However, his problem was more significant than breaking two of God’s top ten rules. Romans 14:23 expands the definition of sin stating,

23... whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

By David committing adultery and murder, he was saying his way was better than God’s. He chose his way over God’s. Actions demonstrate thoughts.  There was a sense that his choosing to rebel against the Ten Commandments was an act of unbelief as well as disobedience. Sin begins in the mind. Functionally, David didn’t believe God’s law was as good, right, and true, as his own. His actions demonstrated his thinking. His thinking was not full of faith in God, but himself. The book of Romans, in the Bible, helps us understand that sin is broader than we comprehend. Romans quotes David and the author of Ecclesiastes, the second son of David and Bathsheba, Solomon, in chapter 3:10 saying, “no one is righteous, no not one.” A few verses later Paul amplifies this concept writing, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). David is not the only one who is guilty before God. The Bible says none of us in this room or around the world are innocent. Sin is not just the big no no’s; sin can be subtle. Sin is missing God’s glory. God is rebelling against God good ways. It is a coming up short of God’s wonderful designs. God’s rules were clear from the beginning.  For example, what was the simple rule he gave Adam and Eve? Simple. One simple command,

“...the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat.” Genesis 2:17.

What did they do? They ate. Another example of the simplicity of God’s commands are the Ten Commandments. What did God’s people do not too long after they got them? Eventually, they broke all of them. Jesus simplified the Ten Commandments into two, love God and people (Matthew 22:37-39). And as easy as that sounds, if we are honest, we don’t love people and God all the time. At times we use people. We get upset at people. We hurt people. We neglect and forget God. Friends, God knew people could not keep his commandments. So he wrote Leviticus as a pathway of atonement foreshadowing the ultimate remedy, Jesus. In 2 Samuel chapter 12, David’s sin caught up with him. David responded to his confrontation with a humble confession. Look at verse 3.

3  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

Sin haunts. David said his sin was “ever before him.” Sin has a way of visiting when not invited. Dreams, flashbacks, voices, and feelings pierced the periphery of the mind. How did David deal with the guilt and shame of his dark back story? He took a step of confession.  Confession is powerful. I think we Evangelicals miss this in a pendulum swing away from formalized dead religion. It is good and Biblical to confess to one another. James 5:16 commands us to confess our sins to one another. David confessed. He knew what happened when he hid. What is the value of confession? Why confess? There are so many reasons to confess. One reason is the Bible commands it. A second reason is if a person doesn’t confess, it rots the soul. David wrote in Psalm 32 this,

3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.

Have you ever done something so wrong you try to remember it a different way?   I bet David did. He could not erase his memory or rewrite the past. Like a flesh-eating disease rotting his soul, his bones were quote “wasting away.” The night provided no solace, comfort, or peace. He lost strength. Maybe he lost weight, energy, and appetite. How could he get right with God? How could he make things better? He had to keep lying. He had to hide. Maybe thoughts like this stormed through his mind, “Kill Uriah. Pretend it is all okay. Marry Bathsheba. Married people have kids. Busy yourself. Start a war. Do good.” Nathan interrupts such airbrushed memories in 2 Samuel chapter 12. How did David respond to this confrontation? He confessed, “I sinned against the Lord.” (2 Samuel 12:13). Perhaps he was hoping for this. I can imagine the relief he felt when it was all out in the open. I think sometimes people in such circumstances are hoping in the back of their minds to get caught so they can stop living a lie.

When we come to verse 4, we see his confession takes a twist. David wrote,

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight

Was it only against the Lord that David sinned? Didn’t he sin against Bathsheba? He certainly sinned against Uriah. And can’t we say he sinned against his nation and the child? He sinned against more than just God. So what was David getting at? Well, when it comes to defining what is right and wrong, God is the rule maker. He is the one who matters. David boiled down his sin to the lowest common denominator, a rebellion against the creator.

Then look at verse 5. David made another odd statement.

5  Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

What was David saying? Was he blaming his mom? Was this his nature versus nurture defense? Was his mom sinning to have him? I don’t think that is what was David was getting at? I think he is saying his sin was worse than a couple of criminal acts. He was saying his life began with a bent towards evil. He was saying he was never innocent. He was saying he did not learn evil. He was evil. He was born this way.  Years later the prophet Isaiah picked up on the pandemic nature of sin writing,

...all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.  (Isaiah 64:6).

Isaiah understood that darkness infuses even the good things we do. People never have an entirely pure motive, and people are in a much worse condition than they often comprehend. Jeremiah, another prophet, wrote,

“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick who can understand it.” (Jeremiah 17:9).

In this 2 Samuel 12 “I gotcha moment” with Nathan and David, David confessed the depth of his predicament.  He wrote, “I was brought forth in iniquity.”

David hit rock bottom. He was desperate. His only recourse was God. Therefore, he took the step of confession.

The second step I see is one of belief. David was acutely aware of himself and God. Why do I think that? He immediately appealed to God’s character in his confession. In verse 1 David said,   

according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy [have mercy on me].

David recognized God’s love and mercy were his only hope. From what he knew about God, he knew God was steadfastly loving and abundantly merciful. How? The Bible teaches that God chose a people for himself not based on what they do or who they were. They were less than perfect and kept his end of the bargain when he could have ended it. Noah got drunk. Abraham doubted, Isaac followed suit, Jacob was a liar. Moses was a murderer, Aaron, his brother and head of the priesthood, was an idolater, that is not to mention the women who were manipulators, thieves, and deceivers as well. We read the stories of the saints of old and discover how not to live. Sure they made some good choices, but the real hero of the Bible is not father Abraham, it’s not Moses, it’s not David, but God. He is the one rescuing his children. He is the one leading his people. He is the one talking to them. He is the one teaching them. He is the one saving them. He is the one pointing them to a future of righting the wrongs. David’s faith was now in a God who could truly solve his problem. God could do the hard lifting necessary to remedy the heavy weight of sin. He is merciful and loving. David believed that.

I verse 7 David said,

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Do you believe God can forgive your sin? Not everyone does. Some think that their sin is so gross, so dark, so embarrassing that God could save everybody but them. Some people can’t believe God can save them. They don’t believe in his power. When that happens, they are making God into a little god. Their god is not all powerful. Their sin is something that their God can’t take care of. They limit God and add to their sin unbelief. Pride eclipses God’s power. Not David, not now. He believed God could overcome his wretchedness. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
God was bigger than his heinousness he believed that.  So we see a step of confession and a step of belief.

The next step he takes is one of petition. David turned from confessing to believing, to now petitioning for help. Look at all the verbs used in Psalm 51.

1  Have mercy...

blot out my transgressions...

2  Wash me…(v. 7)

cleanse me! ...

7  Purge me ...

9  Hide your face from my sins,

and blot out all my iniquities.

10  Create in me a clean heart,

and renew a right spirit within me.

11  Cast me not away from your presence,

take not your Holy Spirit from me.

12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and uphold me with a willing spirit….

14  Deliver me from bloodguiltiness,

15  Open my lips,

There is a progression from cleaning to empowering in these words. David wants God’s help from the beginning to end. The events that burned within his soul were, out and he needed help.  The diversity of words he used I think is evidence that he was not trying to manage his image. He longed for God. He was not whining or nagging to avoid the natural fallout of his horrible choices. He was not saying God take the sword, stop the crushing, end your discipline. No, his focus was on God. He wanted God’s presence “Take not your Holy Spirit from me.” He was all about God. He confessed he believed, he petitioned, and that brings me to the final step I see here, repentance.  

A heart of repentance is a commitment to change. Repentance is turning 180 degrees. David wanted to do things differently. Why do I think that? Verses 13-17 seem to relay the idea that he was not comfortable with his sin and was committed to a new way, God’s way. Look at verse 13. David said,  

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.

David didn’t want to live the way he had been living. He viewed God’s grace and mercy as a portal to a new way of operating. He, the transgressor, would teach transgressors an alternative, a superlative path. He would proclaim God’s praise. He was committed to change in action and word. His change was Godward and outward. He committed himself to sing, declare, and teach. The point of verses 13-15 is that David was repentant so much so, he was going to set a positive example and commit his life to one of praise and proclamation instead of self-congratulations, selfishness, and godlessness. David was repentant.

Verses 16-17 point us back to David’s reasoning. He wrote,

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.

David was broken and contrite. He knew brokenness. These verses are a quote from another prophet to another king, his deceased predecessor, Saul. Saul struggled with obedience. He responded differently to confrontation than David. God was a tool to Saul, a political genie to be used. God’s law didn’t really matter. The rules were meant to be broken. He was the king. The buck stopped with him. God’s orders were cast in grays. The tipping point for Saul was having to wait on God for a proper sacrifice. Impatient and presumptive, Saul made an unlawful sacrifice to God. He was supposed to wait for Samuel to make a sacrifice. Samuel said he was on his way. Samuel did not look like he was going to arrive. It was getting late. So Saul decided to make a sacrifice himself. It probably looked good to his people, he looked religious, and he was the one in power. However, he miscalculated. Samuel caught him cutting this corner. Saul may have thought God would overlook this or is a pushover or his ways don’t matter. The bottom line is God is not someone’s personal waterboy. When he makes a rule, he means it. Samuel (1 Sam. 15:22) said to him,

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.”

Saul did not obey or listen to the Lord. His sacrifice was emblematic of his overall attitude towards God. He was doing his own thing. God removed the Holy Spirit from Saul and eventually his kingdom because of his lack of faith as evidenced in his disobedience. David reflected on this event in Psalm 51. He understood God wants men’s hearts, not a payment plan. You can’t bribe God. Saul wasn’t repentant or trusting God. God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love flow from faith and result in repentance. A person can’t buy forgiveness.

David wrote his self abasing prayer fulfilling what he said would do in verses 16-17. He teaches sinners how to approach God through a heartfelt plea. David confessed, believed, petitioned, and repented.

How do you deal with past regrets, guilt, and shame? Take a moment and sit quietly with ponder.  What act, word, or thought crushes you? Maybe you have a ghost or demon that shows up in your head like an unwanted guest from time to time.  What is that about?

Maybe you came clean years ago, and it is all out there. You have nothing to hide. Praise God for that!

Join us and remember what that oppressive feeling of secrecy was like. That was where David lived before 2 Samuel chapter 12. Some of you live in chapter 11 of 2 Samuel. You live under the crushing weight of the past. God’s hand is heavy on you. You feel like you are wasting away. If you are there right now, you don’t have to stay. If we are all honest, we are not that different from David in regards to our sin. God has put the moral order of the universe into our consciousness. Against Him, we have sinned. All have sinned.

Go to Him in your heart. Turn to Him. Let Him know, that you know what happened. Tell Him what you said. Tell Him what you thought. Tell Him what you refused to say or do. He knows. But tell Him for the sake of your soul. Believe in this steadfast love and abundant mercy of God. Believe. He was there when you did that deed. He was there when you said those words. He was there when you thought those thoughts. He was there. He saw it. He knew it. He brought you into this moment to relive it, by the power of the conviction of the Holy Spirit. He brings us to Psalm 51 to not live under the weight of condemnation but find freedom. You can have freedom from such specters. How? Because of His steadfast love and abundant mercy. How? How do we know his love? Romans 5:8 tells us how.

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Confess your sinfulness. Believe that God is bigger than your sin. Believe it. Some of you may not truly believe in your sinfulness or this Savior. Today could be the day God reaches you. He has you here for a reason. Trust in Christ as your only hope. He died to take away your sin. Believe in him.  Apart from him, you are lost. Be found today. You are not out of reach of the maker of the universe and savior of the world. You are not an exception. Petition him in your heart today. Find your own words like washing, cleansing, restoring, healing, redeeming, and forgiving. Personalize Psalm 51. Write your own Psalm 51. Kids, you can do that. Rewriting Psalms in our own words helps us express our hearts to God.

Not only confess, believe, and petition, but repent. Commit to following Him. What would that look like in one small way? How can you repent?  All of life is one of turning to God.
  • Maybe you need to not use your cell phone as an alarm because you are tempted to look at pornography and you need to get rid of that temptation.
  • Maybe you need to talk to someone older and wiser and godlier on how to not be so angry with your kids.
  • Maybe you need to find some time to retreat with God and not be so addicted to work.
  • Maybe you need to cut up the credit card and get with someone about your spending habits that enslave you.
  • Maybe you need to not go to the bar or get rid of the alcohol in your home because of your lack self-control.
Repentance is varied and personal and deep and hard and time-consuming. For some, the hold of sin is so strong, so impossible, it is not a simple just once and done experience. I am not a fan of the language of addiction for a number of reasons. However, the word I think helps us understand the pull that a substance or behavior can have over an individual. So I don’t want to oversimplify the struggle you may have out there. But I do think you can take a step today. Maybe, the act of repentance for you is to seek some specialized help to attack the Godzilla sized problem. So however it looks like for you today, repent.

What if you feel like you can’t. It is too hard. Paul has a word of encouragement. Writing to a leader about leaders he says,

24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.


Do you see the hope for us embedded in this instruction? Who grants repentance? God. Verse 25, “God may perhaps grant them repentance.” The Bible calls people to repent at the same time it says God grants repentance. If you are worried that you can’t, realize God’s can. Believe in His power. Follow Him. His Holy Spirit will help you. God who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. Why? Because he is faithful. You and I are not. However, we have a perfect and powerful God who grants repentance, to those who believe. So repent. And your repentance is evidence of God among us. Move toward God today, petition, believe and confess.

I love how Psalm 51 prayer ends.  

18  Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem;

19  then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

David just finished saying God doesn’t enjoy offerings in verse 16. Now in verse 19 God delights in sacrifice? What changed?  I think it is the motivation. The difference between the two sacrifices is one tries to appease God, and one is a response to God. If God grants repentance, if he gives you faith, and if he convicts you of sin, then he is at work in you. At that point, a sacrifice can flow from gratitude, not an effort to put God on the payroll. Let us fix our gaze back to him not ourselves. Let us look to the one who abounds in mercy and steadfast love.  

Again one way to get at this is to put Psalm 51 in our own words. I love how Eugene Peterson did that. Let’s read his paraphrase in unison now.

51 Generous in love—God, give grace!
Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.
4–6  You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
7–15  Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I’ll let loose with your praise.
16–17  Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.
18–19  Make Zion the place you delight in,
repair Jerusalem’s broken-down walls.
Then you’ll get real worship from us,
acts of worship small and large,
Including all the bulls
they can heave onto your altar!

Let’s pray  



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