Intro: According to Scripture, purity of heart is necessary when connecting to God. I am reminded in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus spends time talking about inner purity, because the Pharisees talk a lot about God, but Jesus tells them they actually violate the direct commands from God for honoring their parents. Jesus tells these religious leaders without purity of heart they are cancelling the Word of God for the sake of their own selfish ways. Jesus uses a quote from Isaiah to challenge the Pharisees, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Mat 15:8). Ouch! This is certainly an example of how the Word comes to bring correction (2 Tim 3:16).
The word heart in Hebrew is lev or levav [sounds like: labe] and, in Scripture, most often refers to the inner life [mind/will/emotions] of a person rather than the physical organ. The lev is the core of one’s being from which a person gains direction for his or her life. This word is used more than 800 times in the Old Testament alone. Solomon teaches, “Guard your heart [lev] above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Pro 4:23). The lev is the first part of us that lives and is the seat of our spiritual lives. Human beings must guard the heart; otherwise, it can easily become the possession of Satan. If our lev is not reborn from above through Christ, we will live for selfish endeavors—committed only to ourselves which of course leads to destruction. Only a pure lev produces righteous fruit; because Jesus comes to be enthroned in human hearts. “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God” (Mat 5:8).
In our passage today, David sings a prayer and asks God to give him a pure heart [lev]. David is facing some very distressful situations, but instead of asking God to change the tangible things, he prays and asks God to first change his heart. Once he finishes that portion of the prayer, David moves on to confess his brokenness in this temporal life (we will look at the continuation of David’s song tomorrow). No wonder David is referred to in Scripture as a man after God’s heart. That prayer demonstrates a godly desire for the purity of heart only God can provide.
The issues we are facing in our culture and world are certainly distressful, but these issues are manifestations of unredeemed hearts. Satan is the deceiver and influencer and he will run to take dominion of unguarded hearts. God’s commands are to be upon our lev and only Jesus can fulfill them (Due 6:6). Today, I pray for more human hearts to reach for the only One who can bring inner purity—because people who desire purity of heart will continue to leave God’s mark on this rebellious or sinful world.
Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.
With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever,
for your love for me is very great. You have rescued me from the depths of death.
Prayer: Lord, please help us guard our hearts. May we refuse to let down our guard for even a moment, because we desire to see you operate in our lives. Grant us purity of heart in Jesus’ name. Amen.