Offer All Your Flubber - by Elizabeth Reynolds
King David had done something that he felt deep shame and guilt for. He had schemed to be with another man’s wife and then ‘taken care’ of this man by putting him on the front line of fiercest battle where he knew he would perish. After the prophet Nathan had made him aware of his sin, David writes Psalm 51 which pours out lines like:
Have mercy on me O God, according to your unfailing love… wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin… For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me… I have sinned and done what is evil in your sight… surely I was sinful at birth… create in me a pure heart O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me…
And further on, there is something astounding in this Psalm.
David lived in a time when burnt offerings and sacrifices at an alter was the way you could come to God – the way to enter His presence. The most holy place. Here and now, we don’t need to do that because Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross covers all of our sin for all time. He replaced our need to continually cleanse ourselves at an alter by burnt sacrifices. But this was well after David’s time. Regular burning of sacrifices was his world.
And so the astounding thing in the Psalm is what he writes in verse 16-17:
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it.
You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and contrite heart, you, God will not despise.
What a divine revelation David must have had – to come to that thought, that realisation.
We can all meditate on this verse. Here’s David – absolutely broken. Feeling so low with shame and guilt. And he’s coming to God for forgiveness, for salvation and he understands that it’s not the burnt offerings that will save him – but God’s mercy alone.
For us, sometimes we can get stuck in the belief that in order to receive from God… in order to receive forgiveness, salvation, love… we have to bring something good to offer – something holy, something righteous.
But isn’t righteousness the very thing we are seeking to receive from God? So how can we give it?
It’s like those people who feel like they should get fit before they can attend a get-fit class. All you can offer is your… unfitness… your flubber.
We really don’t have any righteousness of our own to give. Any that we think we have is probably self-righteousness and God is not pleased by that.
God is the one who gives righteousness. He’s the one who can ‘fix’ us. What do we give to someone who fixes things? Something that is broken of course. Brokenness.
…And I’ve got plenty of that to give.
We feel like we have to hide our brokenness. We feel ashamed, embarrassed… it’s not a pleasant place for us to be in. We feel like we have to put our best foot forward and try and impress God with the good we’ve done or can do, but God says, ‘No, no, no – your brokenness. That’s the thing I want. I can do something with that. Give me all of it.’
He won’t find it ugly or embarrassing. He won’t screw his nose up in disgust. He won’t be shocked or horrified.
How can you ‘clean yourself up’ and get right with God – so that you can approach God – without approaching God first?
Only God can make you clean and give you a fresh start. Only God can renew a right spirit within you. I wonder what brokenness you have to offer God at the moment.