Memorial Day Remembrances
It is Memorial Day here in the United States, and I want to take a moment to thank all of our veterans and those who have served to protect our freedoms. We are blessed to live in a nation that values freedom and cherishes those who protect it.
Recently, I was in Hawaii and had the chance to experience the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial – it was moving. Standing above the ship where so many sailors lost their lives on December 7, 1941, was an experience that I will not forget.
As I read through the names of the sailors lost that day, I was struck by how many were from the same family. Fathers and sons perished on the same day as did siblings. In some cases, two or three generations were lost on this tragic day.
Today, pause for a moment and offer a prayer of thanksgiving for those who have lost their lives fighting for our freedoms.
Rest For Your Mind & Soul Series Recap
Over the past four weeks, we explored:
- How silence is deafening – learning to be still before God is harder than it seems.
- How to catch our breath – learning how to find rest in the green pastures and beside calm waters.
- Whether God was our cosmic vending machine or not – does God give us the desires of our hearts because we feed Him money or something else or does He grant them in His perfect timing?
- How help is on the way – when Israel (and us) need help, God is there to help us and we need to give thanks when shows up for us.
This week, we conclude our Rest for Your Mind & Soul series with a look at restoration.
Restoration is a tough concept to get our heads around, but it is necessary for our growth as believers and as people.
Dictionary.com says restoration is,
The restoration of our hearts is important especially when we have done something wrong. Psalm 51 is a restoration psalm written by King David after Nathan, the prophet, confronted him about his affair with Bathsheba and the murder of Bathsheba’s husband.
David and Bathsheba
Before David became king, he was anointed by Samuel the prophet who taught us that God looks at our hearts, and not our outward appearances. For many years, David went to war and was successful.
The people of Israel sang his praises. As he got older, he tended to hang back at the palace, and that’s when temptation gave way to one bad choice after another.
One night, David was on his roof and saw Bathsheba on the next roof over bathing. He should have been at war, but he wasn’t. He inquired as to who she was and found out her name was Bathsheba.
He called for her, and they slept together, and she subsequently became pregnant. Now, he had a big problem. When he found out she was pregnant, he started a cover-up by calling Uriah back from the frontlines to enjoy a night with his wife, but he would not have any of it.
So…David made another bad choice and had Uriah killed on the front lines. Once that was done, Bathsheba became David’s wife. They lost the son that was conceived through the affair, but God would eventually give them another son who would carry on the lineage of David. His name was Solomon.1
After some time, Nathan the prophet went to see David and told him a story. It was the story of a rich man who took the precious lamb of another man instead of using one of his lambs to prepare a feast.
David, being a former shepherd, was appalled. He raged with anger and wanted that man to repay several lambs to the family that had been hurt by the rich man.
When Nathan said it was David who was the rich man, he humbled himself before God and asked for repentance.
God restored his heart, but as we saw the baby Bathsheba was carrying was lost.
Psalm 51 was penned by David after Nathan confronted him with his sin and failing. Let’s look at a few verses that give us hope when we mess up.
Psalm 51 opens with,
“God, be merciful to me because you are loving. Because you are always ready to be merciful, wipe out all my wrongs.” – Psalm 51:1
David, just like us, we seek God’s mercy. When we mess up and our hearts are far from God, we beg him to forgive us. He asks twice for God to be merciful to him and to “wipe out” all his wrongs.
Don’t we ask the same thing of God when we mess up? God…I promise I will never do it again.
Grace and mercy are two different things. Grace is getting something we don’t deserve. Mercy is an act of kindness or compassion towards us.2
David continues in this Psalm of forgiveness or restoration by saying,
“Wash away all my guilt and make me clean again. I know about my wrongs, and I can’t forget my sin.” – Psalm 51:2-3
He asks God to create in him a clean heart and to restore him as before. David acknowledges that he cannot forget his sin, but God can.
We, like David, have trouble letting go of our sin. We think we are unworthy to be forgiven, but God forgives us and forgets it. When Jesus died on the cross, He took all our sins – past, present, and future – and bore them for us.
David did not have the same advantage we do. During the time of David, they used burnt offerings to represent the washing of their sins away. Today, Jesus is the one who wipes out our sins.
David says in Psalm 51:7,
“Take away my sin, and I will be clean. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”3
When God wipes out our sin, He doesn’t turn it a lighter shade of white – He turns it a dazzling white as if there was no sin or defect before. We all make mistakes, and we all sin.
What is exciting is that through the power of restoration and forgiveness, our hearts can be as white as snow.
I live in a climate that rarely sees snow, but I have experienced new snowfall and it is a glorious white. When you look out over the landscape and you don’t see a single footprint or hoof print, it is like our hearts after forgiveness has taken place.
There are no tracks that lead back to your previous sin – it’s like a fresh snowfall and we are restored.
David later says in Psalm 51:10-12,
“Create in me a pure heart, God, and make my spirit right again. Do not send me away from you or take your Holy Spirit away from me. Give me back the joy of your salvation. Keep me strong by giving me a willing spirit.”4
When we humble ourselves before God Almighty, and we ask for true forgiveness, He restores our brokenness. In this passage, David cries out for repentance and he begs the Lord not to take God’s spirit from him.
Our sins take our joy from us. When we ask God to restore us, our joy is returned to us.
One thing we must note is even though God forgave David, there were still consequences for his sin. The baby Bathsheba was carrying was lost as a direct result of David’s sin.
God doesn’t want us to spout our forgiveness, but rather He wants our true repentance. Repentance means turning away from our past sin and feeling regret for doing it while striving to not repeat the same action.5
David understood repentance and having a repentant heart. He continued to do good work for the Lord, but his family tree was rocked by his sin for generations to come; however, Jesus came through the lineage of David.
When I have sinned and feel devastated by my actions, I turn to Psalm 51 for hope and as a model for restoration.
David says in Psalm 51:17,
“The sacrifice God wants is a broken spirit. God, you will not reject a heart that is broken and sorry for sin.”7
The one thing we have to realize is that God does not want our lip service, He wants true action. He knows our every thought, motives, intention, and the words we hold in our hearts.
We will continue to make mistakes and sin – it’s who we are – but God restores us and makes us new.
Today, you might need to repent of something from your near past or even your long-term past. God hears us when we call out. I encourage you to pray and read through Psalm 51 and ask for forgiveness as the Lord leads you.
Lord, thank you for your goodness, love, grace, and mercy. Please forgive us where we have lost our way, and restore us as we seek you with all our hearts. Thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross so that we can live with you for all eternity. Amen!
- 2 Samuel 11 & 12 ↩︎
- https://www.dictionary.com/browse/mercy ↩︎
- Psalm 51:7 ↩︎
- Psalm 51:10-12 ↩︎
- https://www.dictionary.com/browse/repentance ↩︎
- Psalm 51:17 ↩︎
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links contained on this website are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”