God Versus a Mud Puddle

August 1, 2012 at 9:26 am | Posted in Selected Psalms | 4 Comments
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In the great prayer of repentance found in Psalm 51, David is very concerned with God purging him from his sins and making him clean on the inside.

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

Psalm 51:2

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Psalm 51:6

David has much to say about washing in this Psalm. We think of washing as an external procedure, but David realizes that God sees what others can not see: the condition of the heart.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10

However, it is also clear that David, once he has been cleansed inwardly, expects that there will naturally be some outward visible signs of this renewed and restored relationship with God.

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

Psalm 51:11-15

Sometimes, when I am teaching in church, I apologize for being late, and I explain that the reason I am a little tardy is that, a few minutes ago, when I stepped out of my car, I fell into a mud puddle. As I tried to get up, I slipped again, and wound up rolling around for awhile before I regained my footing and escaped. As I say this, I stand there before the class, looking clean and neat (at least for me). As the students look at me suspiciously, I admit that there are two possibilities: either I have gone insane or I am lying. The point is that an encounter with a mud puddle is going to make a visible difference in my appearance.
But what are we to make of a person who claims to have had a life-changing encounter with the Thrice-Holy God of the Universe, yet remains basically unchanged in behavior and attitude? Who is more powerful: the Lord of Glory or a muddy puddle of water? We need to make sure that the witness of our lips matches the witness of our lives.

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