Repentance seeks spiritual healing from God
Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. … Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit
Restore My Joy
David has realized his wretched condition before God but he has also hoped in the merciful character of God. From this we learn much about true, God-wrought, Spirit-sent, sin-hating repentance. But there is indeed more, so much more. David sought for pardon but now we see him pressing on for purity. Notice the requests: “make”; “create”; “renew”; “do not cast”; “restore”; “uphold”. There is one great truth that we must learn from these verses and that is that repentance seeks spiritual healing from God. Repentance is not satisfied with pardon only. Of this section James Montgomery Boice comments, “… David prays for inward renewal. It indicates that his confession of sin in part one was genuine, because it shows that he could not be content merely with forgiveness” (Boice, p. 432).
Sin is ruinous, especially for the believer. The guilt of sin is unbearable and any who try to carry the guilt soon wilt under its weight. God does not deal lightly with sin. In fact, David likens the chastisement of God to broken bones. And there can be no mistaking this—God has broken those bones. God chastises His children. Here we see a man who is wilting under the enormous weight of his sin. And what does he do? He asked his God for healing. Joy was gone from David. But now he requests from God—the source of joy, to once again hear the sounds of joy and gladness. There is no reason for a man who is under the weight of the guilt of his sin to rejoice. But repentance means seeking from God a spiritual healing so that joy is renewed. The repentant man comes to God with his broken bones and pleads for healing. Repentance realizes that there is no possibility of rejoicing in sin.
This is stated another way in verse 12, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation”. This word “restore” is a wonderful word for in it is contained the idea of remembering. The repentant David remembered the happiness and thrill of the loving-care of God. Now he longs to once again rejoice in God’s work. That is repentance! Repentance comes to God with a broken heart and says, “God, only You can make this heart work again. I remember how I used to sing with a heart full of joy and happiness and now that is no longer. But God, You can take me back to that place again, You can restore that which I have given up.”
You see, when a believer sins against God without repentance, he extinguishes the work of the Holy Spirit in his life. The Holy Spirit is the One who produces joy in the believers’ life (cf. Gal. 5:22). But when we sin, we are in effect, quenching the work of the Spirit and thus cutting ourselves off from the Spirit’s fruit.
Renew My Life
David stood there before God with the broken pieces of his life. His heart was impure; it was dirty. Sin is rarely without company. When we sin we often open the floodgates of our hearts to many sins. David saw his heart as black, dirty, defiled and he seeks not simply for a cleaning but for a new creation. The word “create” is the same Hebrew word that is used of God creating something out of nothing in Genesis 1 and 2. In this amazing phrase David shows us that true repentance longs for a spiritual transformation of the heart. That is the place where his sin began. Repentance is not behavior modification it is life transformation. When a man repents he comes before God as a broken and defiled sinner and he asks God to deal with the root problem—the heart. Throughout the Psalms we find the Psalmists praying “incline my heart”—that is to say, “Bend my heart to You O God.”
The “steadfast spirit” for which David prays indicates his desire for a strong and established life. At one point his spirit was steadfast—right and established in the way of God. But after his sin, he made room for spiritual laziness and his spirit wavered. Repentance comes before God confessing sin and longing to be spiritually right and strong.
Repentance seeks to bring other sinners along
By teaching God’s Ways
By singing of God’s Righteousness