Summary: on what the true power was behind Pentecost.
June 8, 2003 Psalm 51:10-15
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
How did your tongue feel this morning? Was it ready to sing? Ready to talk? Those sound like strange questions - because we realize that the way we use our tongues does not depend on how our tongues feel - but on what our minds are thinking or our stomachs are feeling. If I’m tired and I don’t’ feel like talking, I won’t use my tongue. If my body is thirsty, then I’ll use my tongue to drink. The tongue is only a slave of the mind and the body.
The same goes spiritually. On Pentecost, a miracle happened with the tongues of 120 believers in the temple courts. The Holy Spirit was able to train their tongues to speak in languages that they had never before spoken - telling people about Christ. This wasn’t just a miracle of the tongue. It goes deeper. That’s what David prays about in Psalm 51. Today we’re going to go below the surface of the miracle - go down the throat, past the esophagus, and to the very heart of the matter - at the true power of Pentecost. Today David reveals -
The Power Behind Pentecost
Before David ever prayed about the use of his tongue, he had a far greater concern - and that was his heart. He prayed in vs. 10, create in me a clean heart. When you woke up this morning, what was the first thing you were concerned with in getting ready for church? Your hair maybe? Your teeth? Your clothes? Most likely it wasn’t your heart. You can’t comb it, put makeup on it, or brush it. You can’t even see it. Yet the heart is one of the most important parts of the body. If your hair falls out or your teeth rot, your body will still function. But if your heart stops beating, that’s it - game over. The heart is very important - not only physically but also spiritually. David also wrote, Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart. (Ps 24:3-4). And that’s what David was really praying about obviously. He wasn’t concerned about the physical cleanliness of his heart, but the spiritual shape of it - that was all important in approaching a holy God.
The problem with David was that his heart had just been broken in two - no - let’s say blown into pieces - by Nathan. With a parable about a poor man and his pet lamb which was slaughtered by his rich neighbor, he enabled David to realize what he had done. He murdered one of his best fighting men by the name of Uriah. He impregnated Uriah’s wife by sleeping with her. God would have given him anything he wanted, but instead David STOLE what was his neighbors. He felt dirty, filthy, rotten - like a piece of garbage that God should just THROW AWAY.
When you take a close look at this Psalm, you can see how it affected him. He prayed that God would give him a STEADFAST spirit. That word really means to be established, firm, and stable. This indicates that the person who God once called “a man after his own heart” no longer felt sure of himself. His very identity as God’s king - God’s kind of person - God’s child - was lost. He doubted himself, his status before God - and his decisions were no longer confident and assured. For the past year most likely, David had been living under God in guilt and fear. He was covering up his sin - and he didn’t feel good about who he was or what he had done. As a result, he didn’t find much joy in life. I would imagine that David couldn’t enjoy the birth or laughter of his child without feeling guilty. He couldn’t enjoy the company of his wife without thinking to himself, “I stole and murdered for this woman.” Everything that was created to be a blessing - marriage, child birth, and children - ended up being a curse. So he prayed, “restore to me the JOY of salvation.” With that guilt, David just didn’t feel like doing anything. He just didn’t have any energy in him. He didn’t feel good about life. His guilt made him feel unsure and unhappy about anything, so he probably didn’t feel the energy to play with child, talk to his new bride, or even run the country. So he also prayed, “grant me a WILLING spirit to sustain me.”