PSALM 51:16-17: “You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; you are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God.” CSB
OBSERVATION: What is the roar that is heard in the heavens? What is the roar that moves mountains? What is the roar that moves the heart of God?
It is the roar of humility!
David was a warrior king. He knew the roar of battle. He knew the roar of victory. Yet, he had forgotten the roar of humility. Psalm 51 is a song written at one of the lowest points in David’s life. It was a song of repentance resulting from his sin with Bathsheba, and orchestrating the death of Uriah.
The story of David’s fall from grace is not covered over in the Scriptures. It is one of the most vivid stories of sin and the power of grace we find in Scripture. On a spring day, while the armies were out in battle, David went out on the roof, saw Bathsheba bathing, lusted for her in his heart, and committed adultery. Then to cover up his sin, and to take Bathsheba as his wife, he orchestrated the death of one of his mighty men, Uriah, by sending him to the front lines to be killed.
What happened to the man after God’s own heart? How could this mighty man of God fall so far? I know this is conjecture, but may I suggest that David may not have gone on the roof to look at Bathsheba. I would like to offer another possibility. David always led his troops into battle. And, David was used to the Lord providing victory after victory. Victory had become the norm. It is easy to begin to believe that the victories in our life have something to do with us. David’s heart may have been filled with pride. The army no longer needed him. They were just mopping up. So David stayed behind.
Why did he go on the roof? Again, may I suggest that it was not initially to spy on Bathsheba. Could it have been to look out over Jerusalem and revel in his victories. Looking over his kingdom David’s heart became centered upon his own grandeur. He had not gone with the army to seek the Lord’s direction as in times past. He was relying on his army, rather than relying on God. And, in this moment of pride, the enemy took advantage to tarnish the man after God’s own heart. Pride always goes before a fall. And, David’s fall was hard!
- “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18 CSB
I believe that Psalm 51 bears out this premise. David, humbled by his sin, cries out before God for mercy. He recognizes his fall from grace. He acknowledges his sin and pride. He prays earnestly for his restoration.
- “God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit. Then I will teach the rebellious your ways, and sinners will return to you.” Psalms 51:10-13 CSB
David’s sin did not begin at the moment he walked out on the roof. It began long before that in his heart. It began when pride knocked at the door and when David answered. David asks God for a clean heart, a steadfast spirit. He hungers for God’s presence, the ministry of the Holy Spirit in his life. He knows that only in God’s mercy and grace will he find joy. Only God can transform his heart and free him from pride. And only in humility will he be able to lead God’s people.
David recognized one more important truth. God does not desire our religious service if He does not have our hearts. If our hearts are filled with pride, all of our service and worship are unacceptable to Him. There is only one true sacrifice that the Lord requires. It is the sacrifice of a humble and contrite heart. Only then is our service and worship acceptable to Him!
- “You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; you are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God. In your good pleasure, cause Zion to prosper; build the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will delight in righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.” Psalms 51:16-19 CSB
The roar heard in the heavens, the roar that moves mountains, and the roar that moves the heart of God – is the roar of humility! As long as David sought the Lord he prospered. As soon as David leaned upon his own understanding, and reveled in his victories, he fell. We are no different. Pride can take a hold of our hearts. Humility is both an acknowledgement and an action. We must take the first step in humbling ourselves. The roar begins with obedience to His call and command.
- “But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” James 4:6-10 CSB
God always responds to the roar of humility.
Lord, this morning hear my roar. I need You! I love You! Without You I can do nothing. You are my Savior, my Healer, my Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, and my soon coming King. Cleanse me from all pride deep within. Give me a servants heart. Restore me and uphold me by Your grace, and through Your Spirit. Let me deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Jesus – today, tomorrow, and forever.
In Jesus Name!