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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Generous in love, huge in mercy - Part III

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. (Psalm 51:7-15)


David had recognized his sin and its devastation in his life.  He had sought the tremendous mercy of his God to forgive what seemed to him to be unforgivable.  Now, he comes in the sorrow of his heart and asks God for a cleansing from that sin that goes so deep that it clears out all signs that it ever had a hold on him.

Soak me in your laundry – David is fully aware of the deeply hidden nature of his sin – the cry of his heart is to be soaked in such a way that every hidden iota of his sin will be completely removed. To soak is to permeate completely - it implies a penetration so as to soften or fill completely. Something that is soaked is fully affected by that which it is immersed in – it gives itself to that which it is exposed to in the soaking process. David had been soaked in guilt – now he cries to be soaked in grace. Fully and completely saturated. Saturation occurs at the point that we can no longer hold anymore. Guilt and shame had been so consuming in his life – now grace and love would take their place. We cannot fully contain God’s grace and love – it saturates us to the point that we “ooze”.

He calls upon the plural name of God – Elohim. The creative, governing, and absolutely sovereign God – the God of creation. The one who has absolute power and authority – even though he had not allowed him that authority in his life over the last year, he is calling out to him now, re-establishing that authority again. David is asking the God of creation to create again in him all that was lost as a result of his sin – have a “Genesis week” in my heart, God.

It is his hope that God will give him fresh wind for the sails of his life. Sin takes the wind out of our sails - grace puts it back into them. Sin buffets our sails, taking us off course - grace billows our sails, creating a smooth, well-directed course. Sin makes it impossible to raise our sails - grace raises the sail for us. His lips had been silent too long, not he pleads with God to unbutton his lips. Sin and shame placed a tight clamp on our lips. There is no praise for God when sin consumes our inner parts. Joy and praise stem from being “unbuttoned” before God - unbuttoned people are exposed people – people with hearts open, spirits yielded.

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. (Psalm 51:16-17)

He had spent the last year merely going thru the motions – giving the impression that all was well on the inside, all the while living with the misery of his sin. David knew the futility of living with a “mask” – he had masked over his sin long enough. Now, he knew the futility of his cover-up and the extreme blessing of his truthful exposure. He says his pride is shattered. God desires those who will worship him in spirit and in truth - this type of worship comes from a heart that has had its pride shattered. That which is shattered is no longer distinguishable as it was in its original form. Pride has many forms – what form does yours take?

Never escape God’s notice - if we don’t want to ever escape his notice, then we need lives deeply affected by the grace and love of God. We need lives ready to receive the love of God – open to the creative work of our sovereign God. Heart-shattered lives are lives deeply impacted at the core of their being.

David exchanged the penalty he deserved, the shame he embraced, and the despair he felt so deeply – moving from a place of feeling like “trash” to embracing himself as the “treasure” God held so close to his heart. Trash is worth very little or even nothing – it is worth “less”. It is inferior, crumbled, broken, debris. Treasure is something of great worth or value. It is something to be held or kept as precious, cherished and prized above anything else. David knew that at that moment, he was moving from a place of worthlessness to a place of embracing his extreme value to a holy God. We would do well to remember the equation: Repentance = Restored Treasure. Our “worth” is directly decreased by our concealment of our sin. Our “value” is directly increased by the exposure of our sin and our willingness to lay it down.

Repentance is opening the door to a “Genesis week work” in which chaos is brought into right order in our lives. He called upon the God of creation to do a work of bringing order out of the chaos of the past year. We would do well to take David’s lead in crying out to the “Genesis” God - the God who delights in using his creative power to re-create within us the wholeness that only mercy and grace can give.