Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
CONFESSION: A CONTRITE HEART
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. (Psalms 51: 17)This Psalm attributes to David, when the Prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. We use this Psalm as a prayer of confession in our order of worship for all Sunday
morning. This Psalm emphasizes the importance of heart that directs and controls our life. OT. teaches that emotions, consciousness and decisions all are the creation of heart, hence morality and ethics emerge from the heart. Wisdom, talents and attitudes are seated in the heart. Deuteronomy 9:5 says faithfulness, righteousness and uprightness are springing from heart. The Psalm emphasizes the importance of a contrite heart when we make our confession.
1. Man cannot transform his nature by himself, therefore turn to God. (Jeremiah 3 : 22): Though God created human in his own image (likeness), with freedom to choose, to think and to make decisions, the misappropriation of freedom turned aside humanity under the power of sin and humanity went in the wrong direction and brought tragic consequences in the community. As Paul says in Romans 3: 10-11 “No one is righteous not even one ….”. All have turned aside and have become worthless and fall short of glory of God. David experienced the intense feelings of his sin, he says in the Psalm, sin hurts the sinner, sin hurts others and sin hurts God. David’s self consciousness says that only God can transform his nature by creating a new heart in him and put a new and right spirit, hence his inward being will be filled with God’s wisdom, truth and glory and become a new man. (Jeremiah 31: 31)
2. God will not despise a contrite heart: Sin alienated human from God, himself and community and life become miserable. Bloodshed, crime, seeking sinful pleasure and plundering, all these become the features of the community. But if we turn to God with a penitent heart, God will not despise us and restore the glory in us. David in this Psalm urges the following things to God while confessing: a clean heart, gladness, joy of salvation, God’s continuous presence, God’s steadfast and willing spirit. Then only good fruit will yield from us, which will please God and the community.
Worship fulfilled only with confession and confession is not the utterance of our mouth but it should emerge from the penitent heart and that is acceptable sacrifice to God. Therefore no worship is valid without a contrite heart, which is the real submission or offerings of our whole person to God.
Prayer: Lord create in us a new heart and fill your spirit in us, so that we can present our bodies as a living sacrifice acceptable to you. Amen.
Rev. Dr. P. L. John Panicker, Toronto