As a senior in college, I was recruited to help a friend’s parents move. Not the most exciting way to spend the weekend, but I was determined to make the most of it. And boy did I ever make the most of it. Right about the time when we had emptied the truck and brought all of their possessions into the new home I spotted something incredible…a vintage skateboard tucked away in the back corner.
Of course something had to be done with this fantastic find. But what? Thankfully, I had my other two college roommates there with me who offered a litany of brilliant suggestions (as only twenty-one year old college guys could offer). We settled on the best option, which was for me to see if I could ride the skateboard off the back of the truck, down the 15 foot ramp, and into the driveway. Simple.
Well, several torn ligaments, a broken wrist, and a six-week full arm cast later I realized it might not have been one of my most shining moments. The worst part of course was the pain. Who knew that such a small part of your body (my wrist) could cause such incredible pain? Broken bones are no joke…they hurt, which is why David in Psalm 51 uses them as an apt analogy in his prayer of repentance.
One thing we noticed coming out of the sermon on Sunday is that the process of repentance is comprehensive because sin is complex. Far too often we simplify the repentance process because we think our sin is simple. We sin…God forgives. This is certainly true, but our sin is so much deeper and thus we need a solution that is so much bigger. On Sunday, we looked at two of the phrases David uses to describe the process of repentance (“wash me”, “purge me”) and in this post I want to look at two more.
In Psalm 51:8 David says, “let me hear joy and gladness, let the bones that you have broken rejoice.” Here, David is comparing the outer agony of a broken bone with the inner agony of a sinfully broken heart. Sin has the ability to break through to the depth of your heart and cause searing pain. And in the process, this sin robs you of your joy and gladness. Some of you know exactly what it looks like for sin to steal your joy and gladness. Maybe it’s a hidden sin or a sin that you just can’t seem to shake, but it has all but robbed you of every ounce of joy that you have.
David rejoices because of a “broken bone” because he has seen God’s healing power and he knows that God is in the business of healing broken bones. There are those of us who need to take comfort in the fact that although your bones have been broken (and yes, it’s painful) – God can heal broken bones and restore your joy. Our cry ought to be that of Psalm 51:12 where David says, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” When we repent…God restores.
Lastly, in v.11, David says, “Cast me not away from your presence.” The greatest fear for David was not losing his kingdom, it wasn’t losing his reputation, it was losing his relationship with his heavenly Father. When it comes to our own sin…our greatest fear should not be whether or not we’ll get caught…or what people will think of us. The greatest fear we should have in response to our sin is the reality that our sin separates us from God.
It begs the question…do you take your sin that seriously? Sin isn’t something that annoys God…it doesn’t make God have a bad day. Sin is an affront to a holy God and David realizes that his sin actually separates him from God. Maybe you’ve never really taken the time to consider the weight of your sin and the eternal consequences that result because of it.
Your response is still the same…repent.
As we start this year and as we think about what it would look like for us to be a praying people, may prayers of repentance saturate our prayer life. May the complexity of our sin cause us to see the comprehensive beauty of repentance and may both of those realities drive us to our knees in prayer.
-Jeremy Dager (Pastor of Age-based Ministries)