This post is part of my book launch, God’s Triumphant Mercy: A Reflection of Psalm 51
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
One of the most important lessons we can learn is that the Christian faith—our salvation—isn’t based on human effort. It’s not about trying to make things happen by our own determination and strength. Rather, it’s about humble dependence on God, “who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11). We need Him for both our willing and working (see Phil. 2:13).
David had just stated that his tongue will sing aloud of God’s righteousness after his deliverance. Now, he asked Him to open his lips in order to do so. He had come to the realization of his need for God to enable him to do what’s right, including praising Him. That realization and acknowledgment is part and evidence of a broken and contrite spirit.
When we believe we can obey and fulfill God’s word apart from Christ, enabling us by His grace and power, we still operate in supposed self-sufficiency. That happens much more than we realize. As a result, there’s no broken or contrite heart—no acceptable heart toward God. Instead of being “poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3), we walk in pride, boasting in ourselves.
In a previous psalm, David had also experienced that: “As for me, I said in my prosperity, ‘I shall never be moved.’ By your favor, O LORD, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed” (Ps. 30:6-7). It’s only by God’s favor—His grace—that we’re able to stand strong and fulfill His word. Many times, it’s through sin and failure that we come to understand our deep need for God’s continuous grace in our lives, enabling us to do what He has called us to do.
Furthermore, if we are to open our lips and declare God’s praise, there has to be a removal of the consciousness of sin. This can only happen by Jesus’ blood: “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:14).
His blood is all-sufficient to remove our sins and open our lips to declare His praise. He not only redeemed us from our transgressions, but also for the singing aloud of His righteousness. Indeed, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer” (Ps. 19:14).
Heavenly Father, open my lips to declare Your praise.
The Devotional Writer
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