Illustration – Sea Biscuit: It’s heart
I watched the movie “Sea Biscuit” the other night. One of my favorite scenes is near the beginning where the horse trainer is searching for one horse that he can groom into a champion. He wasn’t looking for a horse that was already a champion but he was looking for a horse that had the heart of a champion. It was a dark, foggy night as Sea Biscuit and the trainer look into each others eyes for the first time. The trainer looked into Sea Biscuit’s eyes and was able to see into his heart. He saw the heart of a champion even though Sea Biscuit had been beaten down and tossed aside by all the other trainers. He saw the potential in the horse that was labeled as lazy, incorrigible. He chose not to give up on Sea Biscuit but to be patient with him, work with him, and establish a relationship with Sea Biscuit that brought out the champion in the horse. He did this because he could see Sea Biscuit’s heart and he knew that he had the heart of a champion.
SHARP – In 1 Samuel God sends Samuel to Jesse to select one of his sons as the successor to King Saul. Samuel looks at all of the sons of Jesse except for one. He looked at the oldest son, the biggest and strongest sons, the best looking sons, but God rejected them all. God chose the smallest and youngest son of Jesse. The Lord said to Samuel, “do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature…for God sees not as a man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” David, the youngest son of Jesse was chosen by God to be King and was later said to be a man after God’s own heart. God was concerned with and looked into the heart of his chosen one, David. Our relationship with God is a matter of the heart.
David became a great warrior King. He lead and fought in many battles against the Philistines. He had great power, great wealth, and great reputation. One day David was not where he should have been. In 2 Samuel, instead of leading his soldiers into battle David sent Joab to lead them while David stayed in the kingdom. He wasn’t doing what he should have been doing. Instead of actively leading his army he was idly walking on the roof of his palace one night. Then he saw what he should not have seen. He saw Bathsheeba bathing, and he continued to watch. Then he did what he should not have done, he sent for her and had an adulteress relationship with her. When Bathsheeba became pregnant David tried to cover up his sin by having her husband, Uriah, brought back to the kingdom so that perhaps he would sleep with his wife, Bathsheeba, and believe that the child was his. When Uriah would not avail himself of privileges that his Soldiers and comrades could not have David sent Uriah back into battle and requested that Uriah be put in the areas of greatest risk so that he would be killed which eventually he was.
The Lord sent Nathan to David to point out his sin. David’s sin created a break in his relationship with God just as our sin creates a break in our relationship with God. It is out of this series of events that David allows us to see his heart in Psalm 51 and reveals to us how to restore our relationship with God.
READ PSALM 51:1-17
I. Turn Back to God (vs 1-2)
Many times when we have conflict, or feel like we have let someone down or disappointed them we try to avoid that person. The way that translates into the spiritual realm is we turn away from God. We stop praying, or reading the Bible, or going to church because we feel guilty or do not want the rebuke from God. We feel ashamed and want to clean ourselves up a bit before we come back. The reality is we cannot clean ourselves up enough to be able to stand in the presence of Holy God. If we could then Jesus would not have needed to come and be our sacrifice. David turns to God and asks God to do those things that only God can do, to have mercy, to blot out his transgressions, and cleanse him from sin.
II. Confess (vs 3-6)
In these next three verses you can hear the anguish and disappointment that David has toward himself as he confesses to God that he is a sinner. He acknowledges his sin. He is no longer trying to cover it up. One way that we try to cover up our sin is to rationalize it. Adultery is now “cohabitation.” Homosexuality is now an “alternative lifestyle.” Pornography is “freedom of speech” or “art”. Another way we rationalize our sin is by comparing ourselves to someone whom we perceive is not as good as we are. I don’t cuss as much as that person, I don’t drink as much as that person, I haven’t been married as many times as that person, I’m not a murderer or thief like that person. I may have embellished a little on my resume but not as much as that person. When we stand before the Father in Heaven he is not going to be comparing us to another person. I may gossip but I haven’t cheated on my taxes. We are going to be compared to God himself who says be perfect therefore just as I am perfect. God is the standard to enter heaven not your neighbor. We need to call sin, sin and realize that whatever the flavor, gossip, slander, inappropriate thoughts, lying, cheating, murder, whatever it is all carry the same weight and punishment in God’s eyes.
David understood this and confessed to God that he sinned and that he is a sinner. He also realized that the sin he committed was against God himself.
III. Ask for Forgiveness (vs 7-14)
David then proceeded to ask for forgiveness. He asked God to cleanse him, purify his heart, and create a new heart within him and to restore his relationship with God. It isn’t the words David uses that are important. It is the attitude. It is an attitude of faith that believes that God can, desires, and will forgive him. This attitude comes from the years that he has walked with God and come to know God.
IV. Repent (vs 16-17)
Repent means to turn away from. In these last 2 verses David turns away from “doing” things to win the favor of God because he realizes that God wants his heart. The kind of heart God can use is a broken and contrite or humble heart. David gave his heart back to God.
Hold up the chem.-light for everyone to see and say. Let’s use this chem-light as an example. This chem-light is designed to shine light in a dark area. It consists of a plastic container and we can see a fluid inside but it is not fulfilling its purpose. It is not giving off light. It is only reflecting the environment around it. It is not having any impact of its own on the surrounding environment. We can shake it up but still it does not shine. But, if we look a little closer we see that deep down inside the chem.-light there is another container that holds another mixture of chemicals. The chem.-light will only fulfill its purpose when it is broken and the inner filling flows throughout the rest of the body. Then it shines a bright light in the midst of a dark world.
So it is also with a Christian. You may have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which is Christ in you but are you allowing Him to shine through your life onto the lives of others? Like the chem.-light we must be broken for Him to shine. We must come to the breaking point where pride and selfishness gives way to humility.
It’s all a matter of the heart. Sin is executed out of a prideful heart. Repentance and forgiveness is given to a humble heart.
I find myself standing in front of more than champions today. You are more than champions, you are more than victors for the Bible says that you are more than conquerors. God looks into your heart today, a heart that he personally formed, he knows your potential and he knows the plans he has for you, plans to prosper you, plans for a future and a hope. He says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. But He also looks upon the sin in your heart that hampers God’s very best for you. He will clean your heart, but He will not enter in without being invited first. This means we have to be real with ourselves and turn back to God, stop rationalizing sin and call sin what it is, sin and ask for God’s forgiveness. Then in an attitude of humility submit ourselves to the father and allow Him to clean our hearts.