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January 13 – The king’s repentance

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” – Psalm 51:10 

Scripture reading: Psalm 51:1-16

Are you wondering what to do with a sinful secret? David’s conscience nags him for nine months or more. Exhausting. Agitating. Condemning. Then Nathan exposes his swollen puss pocket of sin to unleash three stages of repentance.

Stage 1: Trust God with your dirty secrets (read 51:1-6). First, David appeals to a love more loyal than family and more compassionate than a thousand mothers (1-2). Second, he admits that his sin attacks God Himself and comes from a dirty heart (3-6). Since God so loved the world to send His only natural Son, you can share the slime of your soul with Him.

Stage 2: Confession leads to cleansing (read 51:7-12). First, David begs for a clean record (7) to restore him emotionally and physically (8) in his relationship with God (9). Second, David pleads for a clean heart. David remembers Saul’s torment when the Holy Spirit left Saul. That intensifies his need for the Holy Spirit (11) to give him a right (10) and willing spirit (12). Our guilty record is cleansed by Christ’s death. Our dirty heart is purified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, beg for cleansing.

Stage 3: Clean records and hearts lead to worship (read 51:13-19). Forgiveness sets David free to teach others the way of freedom (13), to sing its value (14), and to boast of God (15). Wrong worship thinks only of the outward actions (16). When we offer our broken hearts (17), God builds a worshiping community (18) who please God with right worship (19).

Suggestions for prayer

Confess your own sins and ask forgiveness in Jesus’ blood. Be specific. Ask for internal changes that result in right desires and pure motives. Ask for more worship from the heart in you and your local church members.

Rev. Ken Anema currently serves as an instructor for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary which is a prison discipleship ministry structured as a school. Prior to that, he pastored the Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church in Holland, MI (1993-2014) after graduating from Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at  

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