What would it take to bring you joy and gladness today? What work of God above all would make you sing? Would it be this:
Blot out all my iniquity,
And hide my sins from view;
Create in me a spirit right,
O God my heart renew.
What God takes away from us can be very much more important than some of the things which He gives us. At other times what He gives us can be far more important than what He takes away from us. When He takes away our guilt, all the miseries, pains, and even death that He gives us cannot keep us from endless, heavenly joys Christ prepared for us. When He gives us a clean heart and a right spirit, that is, one that delights in righteousness, then all that which He takes away from us, be it even all our earthly goods, and this present life, will serve to bring us where we will have treasures that never fade, and where we will forever be satisfied.
David was crushed by the knowledge of his sin, when God through the prophet Nathan rebuked him. Figuratively, not literally, his bones were broken, and he could not sing. Therefore in Psalm 51:8-10 he cried, "Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide Thy 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 prays that God will take away his guilt, but also that God will give him a life that loves righteousness and holiness.
Thus when you pray, be sure that you pray not only for forgiveness of the sins of the day, but also for strength to do what is pleasing in God's sight. Be concerned about the punishment and desire its removal; but be deeply interested in walking in a sinless way to be pleasing in God's sight.
Search your soul. Does your guilt and love of evil crush you? Or do you need a Nathan to point it out to you? You must see and hate it, if your joy and gladness is to be restored. And that hatred of sin reveals that you are the object of God's love, and that He has begun salvation in you.
Read: Isaiah 61
Psalter versification: 143:2
Devotions on the Heidelberg Catechism
Song for Meditation: Psalter number 150
Why not sing along??
Through the Bible in One Year
Exodus 10; Exodus 11; Exodus 12:1-13
Quote for Reflection:
… Peace with God is opposed to the dead security of the flesh, and for this reason, — because the first thing is, that every one should become awakened as to the account he must render of his life; and no one can stand boldly before God, but he who relies on a gratuitous reconciliation; for as long as he is God, all must otherwise tremble and be confounded. And this is the strongest of proofs, that our opponents do nothing but prate to no purpose, when they ascribe righteousness to works; for this conclusion of Paul is derived from this fact, — that miserable souls always tremble, except they repose on the grace of Christ. - John Calvin