Create a Clean Heart, Part 1

It was the first night of serving “made-to-order” food in the E3 Cafe. We had new equipment, shelves were cleared, and everything up front looked fresh! We were excited!

Brittney, the new head of the cafe, unpacked the new fryer. She asked for a screwdriver. I went to the information desk and retrieved one.

Then a long, heavy-duty extension cord? I hurried to the auditorium and asked Derek for one. He drew his mouth into a straight line.

Uh-oh, I know that look. It is his irritated, disgusted, slightly angry expression.

I followed him up the stairs, turned the corner, and exclaimed, “Wow!” They had opened the back curtain, adding another third to the stage, and rearranged the instruments. I had not seen it because we haven’t been practicing there.

“Mom! We’re praying!” Derek whispered.

I forgot. That’s why it was so dark. I felt horrible. Satan hit me over the head with a sledgehammer of guilt.

  • Whack – “You knew it was time for prayer!”
  • Whack – “You are a bad Christian!”
  • Whack – “What a rotten mother you are! You just humiliated your son!”
  • Whack – “Did you see Robin glance up? You interrupted her prayer. She won’t be your friend anymore. Will you be invited to the next girl’s ‘pie time’ date?”
  • Whack – “The youth pastor is going to be mad! I bet they won’t even let you in to wash dishes!”

I hurried the extension cord back to the cafe. A few minutes later, we found the electrician had come and installed a second outlet under the table. We didn’t need the cord after all.

I slunk back to the auditorium to return it.

  • Whack – “They didn’t even need it. You are always rushing off to help and they don’t need your help!”

Luckily, Derek was by the door. His mouth went back into that straight line. I handed him the extension cord and fled.

  • Whack – “You just interrupted prayer again! I wouldn’t be surprised if Derek disowned you!”

I finished my tasks in the cafe and gathered my things. On the drive up the hill, I confessed to David. He told me to forget about it and just practice for the service.

King David sent the same message to Joab when it was reported that Uriah had died in battle.

2 Samuel 11:25, “David said to the messenger, ‘Say to Joab; “Don’t be upset about this because the sword is that way: taking the life of this person or that person. …” ‘” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“…David seeks to comfort Joab. The phrase ‘Don’t be upset’ puts in English the Hebrew idiom ‘Don’t let this be evil in your eyes’ (11:25). David asks his general not to consider the deed evil, but the final word of this story makes the guilt clear: what David had done was evil in the Lord’s eyes (11:27b). …” Common English Bible Notes on 2 Samuel 11:14-27

We know that David later repented. He wrote several penitent Psalms after this happened.

Psalm 51:1, “Have mercy on me, God, according to your faithful love! Wipe away my wrongdoings according to your great compassion.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“The opening petitions invite more attention to God’s character than to the Psalmist’s sin. Have mercy: See Psalm 4:1. Faithful love: See Psalm 5:7. Compassion: See Psalm 25:6. All three of these basic qualities of God occur in God’s self-revelation to Moses in Exodus 34:6, which comes at the conclusion of the gold calf incident that involved grievous sin on Israel’s part. The firm belief about God’s merciful character is apparently what enables the psalmist to confess sin so honestly and openly.” Common English Bible Notes on Psalm 51:1

* * * * * * *

I unrolled my in-ear headphones, grabbed my music, and slid into my place. We did a new song and I had to concentrate. I focused on the worship pastor. The funny thing was when my attention was completely on the leader, I couldn’t hear or feel the guilt.

Pastor Gary also chose, “How Great Thou Art.” I started soft and high. The congregation was singing their hearts out on the beloved hymn. When Pastor signaled me to build, I went loud and low. Amazingly, the congregation got louder! I could hear them singing around my in-ear headphones. It was awesome!

After playing, I told the guitar player that I loved it when the congregation sang at the top of their lungs!

He replied, “Yes, that’s fun. But – when I play well, it’s not about me. When I play badly, it’s not about me.”

I thought, “I needed to be reminded of that.” I went out the back door to return to E3.

    • Whack – “You shouldn’t be playing for church! You interrupted prayer!”

Over the next 2 hours, as I washed dishes and scrubbed the old fryers, I remembered something else I read in Psalm 51.

Psalm 51:10-12, “Create a clean heart for me, God; put a new, faithful spirit deep inside me! 11) Please don’t throw me out of your presence; please don’t take your holy spirit away from me. 12) Return the joy of your salvation to me and sustain me with a willing spirit.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“Create…God: God has the ability to create and re-create, activities associated elsewhere with God’s spirit (see Genesis 1:2). The threefold repetition of spirit suggests that new life is possible for the forgiven sinner. Holy Spirit: Isaiah 63:10-11 is the only other occurrence of this formulation in the Old Testament. It seems here to designate the living and life-giving presence of God.” Common English Bible Notes on Psalm 51:10-12

I repented and asked God to give me a new heart. Once again, God created a new heart for me. The words of the last chorus ran through my head and Satan with his sledgehammer of guilt slunk away.

It doesn’t matter what you have done: murder, adultery, lying, coveting, – God can create a new heart for you! And tomorrow he can create another one. All David did was repent and ask.

Be like David.

February 17: 2 Samuel 11, 12; Psalm 51, 25.

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