Verse 51.8, “Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice.” Why would the Good Shepherd allow the “broken bones” of trials and hardships to happen in the lives of His lambs?
The Good Shepherd & Broken bones
Verse 51.8, “Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice.” If you want to read an incredible commentary on Psalm 51, order the book Whiter Than Snow by Paul Tripp.
The section on verse 8 is too long to share with you here, but it reminded me of the way shepherds in Biblical times sometimes dealt with wayward lambs. If they kept running away, the shepherd knew sooner or later they would be eaten by a predator, so after repeatedly bringing them back to the fold, he would break one or more of their legs so they could no longer run. Then he would gently carry that lamb wrapped around his neck and shoulders. As the legs healed, the lamb would grow close to the shepherd and no longer want to run away.
Sometimes God has to use difficulties in our lives—broken bones, if you will—to keep us from wandering away from Him. When that happens we need to see them as part of His redemptive love for us because, ultimately, the safest place for us to be is close to Him.
Today’s Other Readings:
“Everyone did what was right in his own eyes”
Verse 17.6, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
This is the theme of the book of Judges and the stories it contains gives a graphic illustration of the moral condition of the nation as a result.
First we meet Micah (chapter 17-18), a man who steals from his own mother, and his mother, who doesn’t appear to take her son’s behavior very seriously. Instead, she takes the money he returns and makes idols for him to set up his own personal shrine, ignoring the fact that the people were to worship in Shiloh at this time.
Next we meet a corrupt priest, a man looking out for what was good for him, not what God had called him to or what was right. He allowed himself to be hired out as Micah’s personal priest, and then left when he was offered a better deal.
Then there is the sad story of another priest and his concubine. First we see the horrible moral condition of the people in the city where he lodges on his way home. Just like the men of Sodom, these men attempt to rape this male visitor to their city. And like in Sodom, the victims attempt to pacify them by offering them a young virgin girl and the priest’s concubine. As John MacArthur says in his notes, “This is unthinkable weakness and cowardice …” But when a society heads down that moral spiral, it’s often the women who suffer the most.
Verse 34, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
Just as sin was a reproach to the nation of Israel in the time of the judges, so it is to our nation today. We need to pray that God will show mercy on us and again raise up righteous men and women to stand for God and His standard.
Riches and salvation
Verse 24b, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!”
We’ve talked about it before, but how easy it is for us to get comfortable and neglect our relationship with God. Too often it’s only when a trial comes that we turn and really draw close to Him. May it not be so in our lives!
What about you?
Is there something in your life that is “right in your own eyes”? Something you’ve justified because “everyone is doing it”? Maybe compared to what other people are doing, it doesn’t seem like such a “big deal”? We must remember that our standard is not other people, but Christ!
If God has convicted you, repent and turn to God. It may save you from the hardship of “broken bones” down the road.
What do you do when you’ve really blown it? Is sin really as dangerous and is grace really as powerful as the Bible says they are? Is there such a thing as a new beginning?
Sin and grace-these are the two themes of our lives. We all blow it and we all need to start over again. In Psalm 51, David tells his story of moral failure, personal awareness, grief, confession, repentance, commitment, and hope. And because David’s story is every believer’s story, Psalm 51 is every believer’s psalm. It tells how we, as broken sinners, can be brutally honest with God and yet stand before him without fear.
Whiter Than Snow unpacks this powerful little psalm in fifty-two meditations, reminding readers that by God’s grace there is mercy for every wrong and grace for every new beginning. Designed for busy believers, these brief and engaging meditations are made practical by the reflection questions that conclude each chapter.
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“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.