A Clean Heart

Psalms 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

There is no amount of exertion that will do this for oneself. This is altogether the work of God, and He is the only one who can achieve this goal in our life.

The word "create" is bara [bara] in the Hebrew, and it is always, and only, used for the creative work of God, our Creator.

"Clean" is Strong’s word #02889, and indicates the following:

1a) clean (ceremonially-of animals)
1b) pure (physically)
1c) pure, clean (morally, ethically)

As you can see from these definitions, God is advocating that we be physically, morally, and ethically clean.

David did not ask for a "new" heart, but, rather, that God would create in him a "clean" heart. This is a creation work that is done by our Creator. Mending will not do the job, as our heart is altogether corrupted. David could not make his heart clean himself, and knew that this was the work of God, demanding a feat that required creative power. He was literally asking God to bestow as a gift, a heart free from the pollution of sin.

Proverbs 22:11 He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.

The principle of a new nature had not been lost, but its influence had sorely been interrupted in David’s life by sin. David had lost the "joy of his salvation," and this is what he’s asking God to restore to him.

Notice that David, in the seventh verse, asked to be cleansed (v.7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.); now [ in v.10] he seeks a heart that will be appropriate for that cleanliness. But, he does not say, "Make my old heart clean;" he too was experienced in the hopelessness that the yetzer hara [the evil inclination] holds.

Recently, on a TV program, I heard a pastor quote this opening Scripture, and he used the word "perfect," in place of "clean." This integrally lowers the standard of this Scripture and the intent of its totality. God never promised us a "perfect" heart, as we all know that the heart is deceitful and wicked, above all else:

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Only God can know the intent of our heart, despite what other human beings may try to foist upon you.

It is precisely for the desired end result of a clean heart, that Paul has so aptly stated: "Cast off the old man;" Paul did not say to pick him up and wash him till he was clean, but to throw him off and begin anew, and afresh, as David did.

Colossians 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Rotherham states it quite precisely, when he translates as follows:

Colossians 3:9 Be not guilty of falsehood one to another: having stript off the old man, together with his practices,

Saints, this is something we must do. Without getting legalistic, and pronouncing a list of laws, let us not neglect our desire to walk in the ways of the Lord, by pressing in to attain the very best He has designed for us, and utilizing all of the options He has given us.

Only after we’ve cried out to God for a clean heart, is the opportunity within our reach for Him to renew in us a right spirit.

You may be asking: "What is a right spirit"? First of all, it is NOT the Ruach HaKodesh [Holy Spirit of God]; for He is the Renewer. Nor is it the basic nature of the spirit or soul of man. This phrase is specific to the qualities of ruach [spirit] and nefesh [soul]. "Right spirit" signifies a renewing of the inward man, or an increase of chesed [grace], with the end intention being a spirit of uprightness and integrity.

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

The flavor of this Scripture denotes one who is firm and unmoved from obedience to the Lord, by sin, temptations, and snares. It paints the picture of a heart fixed, trusting in the Lord, and comfortably assured of an interest in pardoning chen chen [grace] and chesed chesed [mercy].

David didn’t desire a clean heart because he was totally void of any cleanness of his heart, but because he could not perceive it within himself. He was desirous of a great deal more than he was now able to view within himself.

It is the opinion of this writer that David was expressing the reality of:

Luke 11:26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

David was taking the necessary measures to prevent this very thing from happening to him. He was wise enough to know his condition, and seek the face of God that Ruach HaKodesh may change it for him.

It is my prayer that this article has been an encouragement to you, in a time of discouragement, to know that God is ever attentive to your cries to Him, and He did not create you, and renew your spirit, to leave you helpless, hopeless, and alone. Our heavenly Father is not hardened against the cries of his own children. What a consoling thought it is that the Lord at all times hears his people’s cries, and is never forgetful of their prayers; whatever else may fail to move him, praying breath is never spent in vain!

Psalms 61:1 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.

God always answers "knee-mail."

Humbly submitted for the edification of the Saints, by Anna L. Schwery
Yad b’Yad Ministries 2001
Questions or comments on this article? Contact the author.

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