The Character Of The Kingdom
When you were growing up, did you go to church on a regular basis, or was that something you started later in life?
Yes. I have had both. I have had times where I went on a very regular basis and times where I hardly went at all.
More Beatitudes From The Bible
This weekend we learned that Bible often uses "Beatitudes" to teach us how to get the most out of life and the type of person we need to be to experience God's blessing in our lives. Here are several examples from both the Old and New Testaments. Read each one and briefly explain what we're supposed to do to be truly happy or blessed.
Psalm 1:1-3 This Psalms offers not only things that we are to do, but also offers prohibitions on activities. We are not to adapt the ways of this world. We are to keep our focus on the Lord's law. It is to what we focus our mind on.
Psalm 41:1 We are to show justice. The focus in taking care of the weak. I think it is something that takes insight and wisdom. Perhaps this is why the verse reads "consider the poor"
Job 5:17 We are to not despise the discipline of God. He loves us, so he corrects us. We should not count this as curse, but as blessing.
Luke 11:28 We are to go beyond the hearing of God's word and move to the doing of God's word. The blessing comes in obeying what God has spoken.
Revelation 1:3 Once again we see that we are to keep the words of the Lord.
Which of these five "Beatitudes" speaks to you the most at this point in your life – and why?
The ones that seem to speak to me the most are the ones about actually doing what God has spoken. I always get caught in the trap of looking at what Christ is doing IN me. I need to always focus on what Christ has done FOR me. So often I hear the word of God. I know what he has said. There is no confusion on that part. The problem is that I fail to do what I know I should do. I am not who I want to be. For more see "Shame and Faith: Parts 1& 2" www.timmcneely.com
Psalm 51 - King David wrote this Psalm after he had an affair with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, and then tried to cover it up by having Uriah put to death in battle. To make matters worse, he never really repented until his sin was exposed by Nathan the prophet almost a year later (after the baby was born). However, once he was confronted, he was truly broken – and this Psalm reflects his personal spiritual journey during that time. There's no question it is one of the best pictures of spiritual brokenness in the Bible. And it's a great model of how to get right with God when we get off track. Read the Psalm and then answer the following questions.
1) How would you describe David's overall attitude in this Psalm? What are some words you might use?
David wants newness. He knows that he needs help that comes from outside himself. He wants to be clean. He knows that he needs mercy. He knows that he needs forgiveness. He is humbled. He has been brought low.
I would use very much the same language. I have learned to try and model my prayers after scripture. I have learned that in my sin the greatest need I have is a new heart. I need to be made clean. I know that I need joy restored to my life.
2) What are some signs of spiritual brokenness you see in this passage?
The signs of brokenness are everywhere. From beginning to end David shows that he is broken and needs to be healed. It starts with a cry for mercy. Mercy is withholding punishment. There was only one verdict for David. That was guilty. He had killed another man and committed adultery. This was an open and shut case. He was guilty. And he starts with a cry for mercy. Proud men don't ask for mercy. Proud men defend what they have done. Proud men plead their innocent before the judge. Proud men are not broken.
David ask for his transgressions to be blotted out. He knows that as long as a record of his sin is kept, he will be guilt. He knows his only hope is to have the record expunged. He must have it purged. But he also knows that it will take more than a clean record. We can he set free by the judge but if we do not change our actions, we will be before the judge yet again. If we don't reform our ways we will continue in sin. A proud man would stand before the judge and promise to change. He would tell the judge that he will not act this way again. A broken man weeps before the judge and ask to be cleansed. He knows that he must be washed. David knows that his sin is found deep inside of who he is. It makes up his being.
In verse 7 David places his hope and trust in God. He knows that if God cleanses him he shall be clean. He expresses faith that if he is washed by the Almighty that he will be white as snow. The broken look to another to do what they cannot do. The broken come before the Savior and cry out to be made new. They know the depth of their sin. They know the depth of their brokenness. They know they Christ.
The broken also know that they will have to be broken by God himself. In verse 8 David ask for the bones that God himself has broken to rejoice. He knows that it is God that has broken him. He knows that it was God who placed him in a place so that he might see the depths of sin. He knows that God gave him over to sin. And he ask for God to help him rejoice in this. This is strange...How can someone give praise to someone else for breaking them and then ask that same person to help them rejoice that they have been punished. This is a like a child asking the parent to help him rejoice in being punished for their rebellion. This goes against the nature of pound men and shows the heart of someone who is broken.
David ask for a change of his nature. He calls to God to change the very core of who he is. He knows that his heart is wicked and unclean. He knows that inside lurks a deceitful and sinful heart. So he ask to be changed from the inside. He does not seek to just have the right actions, but he wants a heart that will provide the right actions. He knows the change must come from the inside out. He calls upon God to let him stay in his presence. He knows that his sin has separated him from the one that he loves. He knows that he deserves to be cast away and he fears this, so he ask the Lord to stay with him. And once again he knows that his spirit must be willing. He knows that unless he is changed on the level of being, he will be the same. That is why he ask for joy and for a willing spirit.
In verse 13 we see that David builds a reason for God to listen and do what he has ask, David does not ask and then walk away. David ask and provides God a reason to act. David ask for God to listen and grant his request for God's sake. Proud men would ask for their sake, broken men ask for the sake of someone else. David tells God that once he is delivered that he will teach others the way of God. He tells God that once sinners are taught the way of God they shall return. His request is evangelistic in nature. He ask to be delivered for the sake of other sinners.
He ask to be saved so that God might be praised. He ask for a new heart so that he might sing aloud the praises of the Almighty. And even in this he ask for the help of one strong than himself. He ask the Lord to open his lips so that he might declare praises. He knows that God will not delight in outward actions but that God will delight in inward change. He knows that God desires those who humble themselves. God delights in those who are broken.
3) What does he ask God to do for him?
See question 2.
4) What are two or three of your favorite verses and why?
The verses that speak to my broken heart the most are Davids cries for a new heart. I know the depths of my heart. I know the need to be cleansed from the inside out. I know my sin. It is ever-before me. I am painfully away that my own actions and my own strength cannot change me. I know that I need the Savior to clean me. I know that I must be purged by God to be clean. That is so often my cry and the need for a new heart is my desire. This is also my biggest struggle. I feel like I never change. I feel like I am stuck. I see no growth and no change. I want the joy of salvation brought back to my life.
1) What was your favorite passage, point, or insight from this weekend's message – and why?
The verse that hits home the most is David wanting a new heart. See question 4 above for more insight into this.
2) Can you think of a time in your life when you felt "spiritually broken" before the Lord? If so, what led you to that point? How did God meet you (or not) during that time?
There have been so many times of feel broke. The feelings of shame and guilt hit me so often. I am always led to my knees by sin. It is always my actions of rebellion and idolatry that lead me face-down and leave me weeping. There have been moments of one sin and there have been patterns of sin. And in these times I pray. Oh how often I have prayed like David has prayed. How often I have cried out for mercy and for joy to be restored. Sometimes it comes. But it never seems to last. I never seem to be delivered how I ought.
I can preach to myself gospel truth. I remind myself that Christ has done what I could not do. I focus my attention to the cross...But I don't change. I stay the same. I am still lost in my sin. I am still full of shame.
In one very real sense I feel like God has not met me. In a very real way I feel that God has not heard my cry for a new heart. I feel so abandoned by God. I feel so lost and alone. I know that my sin has separated me. I know that Christ has paid the price for sin. But I do not change.
God has not met me...
Yet other times He has come down and spoken softly to me. He has whispered into my ear that all will be made right. He reminds me that he loves and cares for me. He lets me know that he loves me with the same love that he has for his son.
Yet I still feel lost. I'm still scared. I still tremble. I'm still ashamed.