“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then, I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you.”
- Psalm 51: 12-13 NLT
Psalms are underrated, man. The pretty book most likely to be printed on Bible verse refrigerator magnets possesses more power than I’ve ever realized. For one, praying the Psalms molds our minds into the mind of Christ. And, they never get old! In an instant, God can transform a poem heard hundreds of times into a sparkling new promise. He did it for me this morning.
First, let me say this. During the communion at Parkway Assemblies of God Church in Norwalk, CT, I ate the wafer too soon and had to pretend I put something in my mouth and chew when we all stood and partook of the sacrifice in unity…phew. Just had to get that off my chest.
After the congregation ate the wafer while I practiced my acting skills, one of the deacons recited the first half Psalm 51 by memory. We then drank the grape juice, and he continued into the second half of the psalm.
But then, it happened. I heard something I had never heard before.
…and they will return to you.
Wait, what? Who will return? And…what was the first part of the clause again?
Now, Psalm 51 is one of those chapters that many of us have memorized. We know the story behind it – King David’s confession and heartfelt repentance of his sexual sin with Bathsheba. We know the promise of God’s presence and of His redeeming love to David. But before today, I never saw just how far God extends His promise of redemption.
And, not surprisingly, this word falls just in time. God has given me a ministry in redeeming the pains and breaking the chains of sexual addictions in women. But in order for this ministry to really fly, I need to completely consecrate myself as His holy vessel.
But what about those moments when temptation intersects with curiosity? I need to regularly pray that He would make me willing to obey Him. He will answer me. And then, I will teach others of His ways. After all, I cannot teach something I haven’t first experienced myself.
But the most exciting part of the promise? My teaching won’t be in vain. No, no, no. I will see fruit. The rebels will return to Him! Hallelujah!
I encourage you to begin praying this portion of Psalm 51 in a new light. Ask God to reveal to you the areas in your life in which you need Him to make you willing to obey Him. Then, pray. Record what He does.
And finally, TEACH! He’ll move. As we declare it, rebels will return.