The Psalms 51 Heart
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.
a. A Journey from Brokenness to Worship
b. What is worship?
i. Oxford Dictionary
1. Expression of reverence and adoration for God
2. The acts of formal expression of reverence for God
c. A Journey from Self-worship to God-worship
i. A life that is not engaged in the worship of Holy God is engaged in the worship of this world or the worship of self.
ii. David went from self-worship to God worship and this is the crowning jewel of the Psalms 51 heart.
d. We need to make the journey from self-worship to God-worship
i. The predominant religion in the world today and the greatest threat to Biblical Christianity is not Islam, it is not Hinduism, it is not evolutionary theory, but rather it is the religion of self-love. Evolution and modern liberalisms are simply the expressions of a religion of self-worship.
1. Self-Worship Defined
a. Expression of reverence and adoration for self
b. The acts of formal expression of reverence for self
a. By reducing mankind to mere biological results of a chemical mixture we suddenly become accountable to no one and no law. We become laws unto ourselves.
b. Morality becomes subjective. Life becomes subjective.
c. Evolution is the ultimate expression of a thought process that desires the worship of man rather than the worship of God.
3. American Rights
a. The Declaration of Independence
i. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
b. The founding fathers believed that all men had the right to freedom and the pursuit of happiness. However, note that man is under the realm of the creator. The pursuit of happiness was bounded by the present reality of God and that happiness could not go beyond the creator.
i. In our worship of self in our culture, these principles upon which our nation was founded have been perverted to pursuit of happiness and personal rights unbounded by the morality of God.
ii. As a result we have a culture that can kill unborn children because it is the mother’s right. We have a culture that glorifies the immoral sexual lifestyle (whether that is homosexuality, promiscuity, adultery, etc) because it is our right to be happy.
c. The cultural religion of this nation is the religion of self-worship and it is this religion in which many Christians have also fallen.
4. Self-Worship defined
a. It is the exaltation of what we want before anything else. Our happiness, our desires, and our lives come first before anything else.
b. Self-worship begins with thoughts like…
i. “I deserve…”
ii. Or life planning that revolves around us.
iii. When we wake up in the morning, is your first inclination and thought to figure out how to arrange your day for you or do you get up and lay your life down to let him arrange His day for Him.
e. David and Self-Worship
i. David began in worship of God.
ii. David slid away from God
iii. David considered his desires and his pursuits of greater worth than God.
1. David took Bathsheba because the fulfillment of his desires was of utmost importance.
2. David modeled to all of those around him that it was okay to forsake the Law of God when it was in his best interest.
a. His desires were a greater priority than God’s desires.
b. David loved the world. (1 John 2:15)
c. Notice that when Nathan told the story that David was incensed because that other person transgressed the law of God.
d. David however considered it okay to do the same thing because it was for him.
e. David had slid into the trap of self-worship.
f. Psalms 51
i. David would still be in the clutches of self-worship had not David turned from His sin. David was confronted by the truth of God and David was broken.
ii. David wrote Psalms 51 chronicling his journey from brokenness to worship, from worship of self to worship of God.
1. David realizes that he is forgiven and restored and as he is broken over his self-worship and sin, David realizes that true brokenness must lead to true worship.
2. In Psalms 51:17 David shows us what is true worship and how is that true worship expressed.
iii. A life of externals
1. In the Christian life, it is so easy to engage in self-worship in sin and put up this mask of self-righteousness, just like David did. He thought the externals were taken care of, so he was okay. As long as the outside was okay, so was the inside. Once God got a hold of his heart, the façade of self-righteousness, which is self-worship, came tumbling down. But once God got a hold of David’s heart, David exchanged worship of self for the true worship of God.
I. TRUE WORSHIP
a. Psalms 51:16-17, 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.
i. What is David saying?
1. Is he throwing out the whole sacrificial system of worship?
a. (Perhaps it is like some people today who are trying to throw out any external forms of worship.)
b. Is David saying that God never liked the sacrifices in the first place?
2. David is saying that the acts of sacrifices don’t mean anything by themselves.
3. The act of worship apart from the heart of worship means nothing.
ii. Counterfeit Worship
1. Sacrifice without a genuine heart
a. Cain did the act of worship but his heart was not in worship.
b. King Saul did not have a heart of worship and thus did not please God.
2. The externals without a genuine heart
a. Putting all the right externals on so that you appear to be a sold out follower of God. The motive is not to bring worship to God however it is to bring recognition to your account.
b. David thought he was okay as long as he took care of the externals. Uriah was taken care of and Bathsheba was now how wife, everything was okay. The externals did not match the heart.
3. Ananias and Saphira – Counterfeit Worship
a. Acts 5:1-11
b. Lied to the Holy Spirit and brought counterfeit worship
c. The heart motive was pride and self-glorification, which ultimately was self-worship.
iii. True Worship
1. The Broken Vessel
a. Why is true worship through a broken vessel?
i. The beautiful vase stands as a testimony to itself, bringing glory unto itself.
b. All of us are broken vessels.
i. All of us equally need grace.
ii. The heart of the broken is the beginnings of true worship because God knows that the it is only the broken who will realize their need for grace.
iii. The broken vessel is broken so that it can be reshaped by the hand of the master.
a. David came face to face with the realization of his sin.
i. He realized that he had stolen worship from God through self-worship and the worship of this world.
ii. This is why he freely admits that his sin is first and foremost against God. Sin is directing our worship away from God and robs God of His glory.
b. David is broken over his sin and what it has done.
c. David recognizes that he needs God’s grace.
i. Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
3. “Crushed”/ Repentant
a. Contrite is a word that carried a meaning of being crushed. Literally, the loving hand of God has crushed his façade of life and the life of self-worship.
b. David’s heart is a pile of ash humbled in the hand of God.
c. David’s heart is malleable for what God wants to do with him.
iv. The sacrifices of self VS the sacrifices of God
1. The Sacrifices of Self
c. Priority of self
d. Self-glorification that leads to self worship
2. The Sacrifices of God
b. God dependent
c. God is the priority
d. God glorification that leads to God worship
v. Breaking down the externals
1. We need to realize that a heart of true worship to God does not being with the externals of life but with the heart!
2. Church attendance, tithing, reading your Bible, means nothing without a heart that is broken and poured out before God.
a. Do we think we are okay with God…
i. When we profess to honor God and yet live a life that is contrary to where he is, how can we profess to worship him?
3. So much counterfeit worship goes on because we think that God is pleased by the counterfeit worship that we bring.
4. David is making a call for people to examine their hearts to examine what kinds of sacrifices they are bringing. The true sacrifice of worship is a heart that is broken and crushed and ready to absorb the life giving grace from God’s hand.
5. My heart breaks because so many of us keep brining counterfeit worship to God because we are okay with the self-worship and sin in our life. We don’t want to be broken; we want people to see us, recognize us, and give us praise.
a. David laid his life bare and acknowledged that God is pleased with the broken heart.
II. TRUE WORSHIP LIVED OUT
a. Psalms 51:18-19, 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.
i. David is pleading that God build up the walls of Jerusalem
1. The walls were a practical necessity for safety and for security for any ancient city. The walls keep the enemies at bay.
2. Walls were also symbols of strength and are what marked the city boundaries.
3. David’s sin had left Israel and himself vulnerable to the enemy.
a. Our sin affects us but it also affects those around us.
b. David is asking that God would restore his hand of blessing for Jerusalem to be a site of testimony to the world.
c. If God would once again establish Jerusalem as a center of the ancient world, David would use Jerusalem as a place from which to proclaim the goodness and greatness of God.
ii. David is saying that God would once again delight in sacrifices because the heart is right with God.
1. Note that David does not dismiss the externals of worship; rather he just makes sure that true worship is understood.
2. The rituals and acts of worship are pleasing in God’s sight when a genuine heart that is broken and contrite backs them up.
iii. David sees the Psalms 51 heart as a heart that is thoroughly genuine and worships God from the heart and in the externals of obedience to God’s commands.
1. The externals of sacrifice are important, as they are symbols of the heart; the issue is when the heart is not in sync with the act of worship.
a. God loves a cheerful giver. Giving is important, but it is to be done with the right heart. If you are begrudging in what you sacrifice for God, it is not as if God says “well at least I got his money.” God doesn’t want the money, he wants your heart, but the outward act of giving and generosity is what symbolizes that heart that is given over to Him.
b. Likewise, God is not looking for the burnt offering; God is looking for the heart. But, the external of the offering is what showcases and symbolizes the condition of the heart.
c. The external acts of worship are vital because it is our external acts of worship reflecting the internal worship of our hearts that proclaims the grace of God to the world.
b. The sacrifice of worship
i. Notice that true worship is a sacrifice.
ii. True worship costs us our rights of self-worship in exchange for God worship, but this is exactly what most of us don’t want to do.
iii. The road of brokenness is too hard and too uncomfortable. We want to offer worship that is comfortable. We want to worship what is convenient because I do not want all of this worship of God to upset the applecart of my life.
1. If really give our whole heart over to God, we are not sure what God will ask of us.
iv. Listen to me brothers and sisters; ; leave the comfort of self-worship and count the cost. The Psalms 51 heart is the heart that brings true peace with God. Give your life to worship of God, not worship of self.
1. Let the worship of your heart be a broken life in need of grace.
v. 2 Samuel 24:18-15
1. David would not give worship to God when it cost him nothing.
2. David wanted to proclaim his heart that there was nothing to costly or anything he wouldn’t do to give his broken sacrifices of worship to God.