“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 ESV)
A simple, powerful prayer of King David, after he had committed adultery and murder.
Of course, none of us are so wicked or evil as David was. Right?
Anyway, this verse has been on my heart lately. Especially the “renew a right spirit” part.
I probably should remind you, even though the Psalm was written by King David, it was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
It was inspired so you and I could benefit from the same power, grace, and mercy King David received from the Lord.
It was inspired, i.e. the Holy Spirit gave David the words to write and sing, so generations to follow could be victorious over the wiles of the evil one.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)
Okay, back to David’s prayer in Psalm 51.
“Create in me a clean heart…” A clean heart is the pure, undefiled, and untainted center of our being. Our very mind, will, emotions. The seat of our affections.
David knew without purity he’d never be able to withstand the onslaught of ungodly influences coming at him every day.
Nor can we.
And the only way our heart can become truly clean is through the work accomplished by God in the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
David looked ahead in time, by faith, and trusted in God’s promised work. We can look back and have faith in God’s accomplished work.
Faith for a clean heart.
The rest of Psalm 51:10 says, “and renew a right spirit within me.” The word, “renew”, means “to repair” or “rebuild”. The idea of reconstructing something that had, in some way, been broken, busted, or demolished seems to be the thought.
It’s very hard to walk victoriously, in faith with God, when you can’t catch your breath. “Spirit”, used in this passage, is from the Hebrew word “ruach” which means, among other things, “breath”. Though, as it’s used throughout the Old Testament, it can mean the innermost part of a person.
So David prayed, “rebuild, repair, and reconstruct a right (meaning fixed, established, single, steadfast, prepared, settled, and arranged) spirit with me.”
In other words, “Lord, please do something new in me. Help keep my innermost being wholly fixed on Your Kingdom, Your plans and purposes, Your way of doing things, and not my own selfish pursuits. Help my spirit, my heart, be undivided where You are concerned. Settle my heart in righteousness and true holiness, that You alone may receive the glory due You.”
At least that’s the way I’m seeing it.
And praying it.
How about you?