For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. – Psalms 51:18-17 ESV
During the Holiday Season we have a ‘Wish’ list, things we ‘WANT’ for Christmas. This allows people the knowledge of what they can do, what they can purchase that will make someone’s ‘Joy Complete’. There are songs that we sing during the Christmas season that are all about what, WE WANT: ‘All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth’, and ‘I want a hippopotamus for Christmas’ and of course Mariah Carey’s recent classic, ‘All I want for Christmas is you’…. If Christmas is the celebration of the Incarnation (the birth) of Jesus, then it is Jesus that should be getting the gifts- not us. In today’s verse God is clear about what He wants from us, not just for CHRISTMAS, but for always and for all times. It is written: “What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the LORD. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.” (Isaiah 1:11) Two of the most prominent patriarchs of our faith, Isaiah, and King David- who wrote Psalm 51 tell us the same thing. And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (1 Samuel 15:22, Proverbs 21:3, John 14:15)
Leader, King David wrote this Psalm after He sinned against God and committed adultery with Bathsheba and committed murder against Uriah. (See 2 Samuel chapters 11-12) David is known as, ‘A man after God’s own heart’, yet he committed egregious sins against God Himself, not just Bathsheba and Uriah- but God. Verse 4; Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. God is blameless in His judgment, He is always right. King David wrote this Psalm at one of his lowest points. This is why Psalm 51 is the perfect Psalm not for Christmas, but for the NEW YEAR. The Pastor of the church I currently attend, Shane Gray, used this Psalm as the first message of the New Year and he so eloquently stated, “We don’t need a NEW YEAR, we need a NEW YOU”. This Psalm is about a NEW YOU for a NEW YEAR. As we go into a new day, a new beginning, a NEW YEAR- shouldn’t this be the desire of every TRUE BELIEVERS HEART? Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. (v1-3)
Conduit, in the greatest sermon ever preached, the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), in some of the greatest words to come out of the incarnate Jesus’ mouth, the Beatitudes, God starts His teaching by telling us what David is telling us here: “And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. (Matthew 5:2-3) This NEW YEAR we need a NEW YOU. We don’t need a new president, or a new elected official, we don’t need a new vaccine, or a new job. We need a NEW SPIRIT, we need a NEW HEART…this will bring us a HAPPY NEW YEAR. This is what Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3. There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:1-3) As we go into the NEW YEAR, take an inventory of sins. God tells us there are 2 types of sins: Sins of Omission and sins of Commission. There are things we SHOULD HAVE done, that we didn’t. And there are things we SHOULD NOT have done, but we did. The TIME IS NOW to take an inventory of your sins of omission and commission and ask God to change your heart. If you want to have a better year with God this year, than last year- then: Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you. (1 Peter 5:6) When we do this, then we can experience the best part of Psalm 51: Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (v 7-12) This is my NEW YEAR’S prayer for you and I, and ALL who call on the name of JESUS! Amen!