The Way Back (Psalm 51), Part XVI

For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

Psalm 51:16

The fifty-first Psalm is one of my favorite Psalms and one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.  It is the song and prayer of David’s confession after his sins of adultery with Bathsheeba and subsequent murder of her husband, Uriah.  In my opinion, this chapter is the best example in the Bible of a prayer of a true penitent.  If we ever find ourselves having sinned, this is the chapter that shows us “the way back to God.”  We will take a couple of weeks and look at it verse by verse.

In verse 16, David shows that he understands exactly what the Lord wants.  He tells the Lord that, if He wanted a sacrifice, he would give it.  If the Lord wanted a burnt offering, David would have been happy to provide that for Him.  But that was not what the Lord wanted at all.  He did not desire sacrifice and He was not going to delight in a burnt offering.  The next verse tells us what He did (and still does) want, but we will look at that verse tomorrow.

Sometimes understanding what the Lord wants from us also involves understanding what the Lord doesn’t want.  There are so many things that people do to try to atone for their sins that the Lord isn’t interested in.  Some people try to do good deeds to outweigh the bad ones.  While it is obviously good to do good things, simply doing good is not going to get us forgiveness.  Others try to give money to the church.  Some just try to stop sinning and hope that God somehow forgets what they have done.  There are many things that people do to try to please the Lord, but He is not interested.

Just as David understood, there are things that God wants from us and things that do not interest Him.  We need to pay attention to which is which.

2 responses to this post.

  1. True True! Ben. I have often been guilty of trying to “pay God off”. I say “God I will do this if you only do that.” But God is not a man that can be bribed. There is nothing we can give Him that will add value to Him or take value away from Him. That One who is self-fulfilled would notice us or be willing to forgive us at all makes the gospel all that much more amazing!


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