Part of a broken and contrite heart is the deep realization of one’s utter dependence on God–on His good pleasure. The New Testament equivalent is being “poor in spirit.”
This post is part of of my book launch, God’s Triumphant Mercy: A Reflection of Psalm 51
Do good to Zion in your good pleasure . . .
After acknowledging that God is the One who needs to open his lips in order to declare His praise, David wrote that the only acceptable offering to God isn’t found in externals, including doing what God has commanded. It’s about having “a broken and contrite heart.” That includes realizing that everything that’s pleasing to God within us is solely “through Jesus Christ” (Heb. 13:21).
If Jesus isn’t the Root and Life-Giver of our practice, it’s simply unacceptable to the Father. We’re the branches who need to receive life, growth, and fruitfulness from Him: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). If that’s the case, are we just passive? No, not at all! We should pursue Christ with all our hearts and pray.
First of all, we’re to abide in Christ. Jesus stated that as follows: “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (John 6:54-56). We are to “draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isa. 12:3). We must drink deeply of who He is and what He has accomplished, obtained, and promised.
Secondly, we need to pray! David asked God to do good to Zion, a reference to all the saved ones throughout history (see Heb. 12:22). This doing good is based on God’s good pleasure. Paul stated that as follows: “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). We need Him for both our willing and working. Unless we realize that, we don’t evidence “a broken and contrite heart”—one who is “poor in spirit” and needs to receive everything from Him (Matt. 5:3).
The Hebrew word for pleasure is also used in another psalm: “For not by their own sword did they win the land [although they used swords], nor did their own arm save them [although they were active in the battle], but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them” (Ps. 44:3).
Behind all our victories—doing what is right—is God’s delight, doing good to us according to His good pleasure. That is the sole cause of all our righteous deeds. Indeed, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32), which includes “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).
Heavenly Father, work in me both to will and to work for Your good pleasure.
The Devotional Writer
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