Psalm 51:16-17 New King James Version (NKJV)
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.
This is the first Psalm of David in the second book of Psalms, (Psa. 42 -72) as most of the last 9 Psalms were of the Sons of Korah, or of Asaph. This particular Psalm was written by David after Nathan confronted him after his Affair with Bathsheba. In fact, verse one states: To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
A quick recap, David, after being King for a while and walking in the ways of the LORD, being a “man after God’s heart,” is standing on a roof and spies a beautiful women bathing below. He lusts in his heart for her and sleeps with her, though she is married. She gets pregnant. David has her husband sent off to the front lines of combat and purposely killed. Nathan, the Prophet confronts David about this, and tells him surely the child will die because of this sin.
Psalm 51 begins with David asking for forgiveness for his sins. He acknowledges that it is again God he has sinned, and no one else, (v4) and that God is justified and blameless to judge. God desires “truth in our innermost parts” (v5), David tells us in this psalm.
He asks to be cleansed, to be “washed whiter than snow” (v7), and to “create in me a clean heart,” (v10). David is clearly presenting a broken and contrite heart.
You Do Not Desire Sacrifice
This is an interesting statement when during this time the Jews were required to offer sacrifice regularly to the LORD. David seemingly contradicts the LORD’s commands, however, this is not so. In Acts 17, Paul declares, “as though the LORD needed anything!” We know that God doesn’t need our tithes and our sacrifice. He doesn’t even need our praise. He Himself, as the Creator doesn’t need that to continue to be the Creator. We know if we keep silent, the rocks themselves will praise Him. (Luke 19)
Why, then, do we tithe, or offer sacrifices of praise? I say it is for our own hearts. If we didn’t discipline ourselves by acknowledging His power and glory, then we would be deceived into thinking it is by our own power we gain. By giving these sacrifices we remind ourselves, not Him, that all we have is given through Him. If everything is His, then why would He desire sacrifice? No, what He desires is a broken and contrite heart. Sacrifice is the response of a heart that is contrite and acknowledging His dominion.
Today, take a moment to remember from where all blessings flow. Pray that an arrogant spirit in you be broken, so that you cannot boast, except in Him. Remember that without God you can do nothing, and all you have accomplished in the past was only with Him. Even if you didn’t know it at the time. I want you to look around you, at the computer, tablet or phone you are reading this from, and thank Him for it. Thank Him for the House you have, even if you don’t think it’s all that great, remember you could have nothing. Thank Him for your car, your family, everything you have. Remember, it’s all His, and you are only granted temporary stewardship over.