If you, like me, have a natural inclination to steer towards a performance-based mentality, you’ll find freedom in David’s divinely inspired words that teach us what God requires of us; He – not us, works in our inner man.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. (Psalm 51:6 ESV)
Psalm 51 is a song of deep repentance and sorrow written by King David after his affair with Bathsheba and his murder of Uriah, her husband. Initially, King David was oblivious to the grievousness of his sin. But when the prophet Nathan confronts David, he is overcome with grief and remorse over sinning against the Lord. (2 Samuel 12)
In the first section of verse 6, “you delight in truth in the inner being,” David reveals his understanding that God gladly forgives when repentance is sincere and heartfelt. The Hebrew word used here can mean “something that is covered over, hidden, or concealed.” So we could paraphrase this as “You desire light in my darkness” or “You want truth to expose my secrets.”
In the second part of this verse, “…you teach me wisdom in the secret heart,” David’s asking for something else. He is asking God to give him a radical transformation of his inner self so that he might have wisdom and adopt God’s perspective on all things; he deeply desires spiritual insight to know better in the future.
One of the reasons this verse resonates with me is that it speaks of the Lord taking delight in his children during our times alone with Him. Sometimes there are seasons where for whatever reason, we disengage from the regular day-to-day routine, and we’re spending lots of alone time with God. It’s here, in the fields of isolation, God most often reveals things we’ve stuffed down deep – false beliefs we hold but don’t recognize. Until those false beliefs are brought to the surface and dispelled with God’s truth, they’ll keep us from living in the freedom that is ours in Christ. We see this illustrated with King David, but without the backstory from 2 Samuel 12, we’d miss the fact that it took God’s wisdom, delivered by a prophet, to open David’s eyes to the sins he had committed.
Though we don’t have a personal prophet to convict us when we’ve done wrong, we do have the power and ability of God’s Word and the indwelling Holy Spirit. God works traditionally, enlightening our minds as we read the Scriptures, but He also, as David is expressing, through His grace and goodwill towards us, works in us to make the changes that only He can desires.
God doesn’t want us to obey Him just because He says so. Relationship with His children is why he made us, and it’s His desire for us to have obedience that stems from integrity and revelation knowledge of His will. That’s why it is critical to spend quality time alone with God and His Word. Before we can experience the supernatural power and ability of God’s Word at work in our lives, we have to put it inside of us so that it saturates our thoughts and serves as the foundation for the words we speak and the actions we take.
Friend, I want you to know that spending time alone with the Lord can be the absolute, greatest delight of your life! Further, it’s THE determining factor in your level of joy and peace, especially in seasons of uncertainty. Trust me on this, had it not been for the cultivated habit of spending the first part of every day with God and His Word, I’d never have survived 2020 with my faith intact. So I encourage you, seek Him, seek His face because that’s the only place you’ll find true delight!
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