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Psalm 51:10

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 10. Create. What! has sin so destroyed us, that the Creator must be called in again? What ruin then doth evil work among mankind! Create in me. I, in my outward fabric, still exist; but I am empty, desert, void. Come, then, and let thy power be seen in a new creation within my old fallen self. Thou didst make a man in the world at first; Lord, make a new man in me! A clean heart. In the seventh verse he asked to be clean; now he seeks a heart suitable to that cleanliness; but he does not say, "Make my old heart clean;" he is too experienced in the hopelessness of the old nature. He would have the old man buried as a dead thing, and a new creation brought in to fill its place. None but God can create either a new heart or a new earth. Salvation is a marvellous display of supreme power; the work in us as much as that for us is wholly of Omnipotence. The affections must be rectified first, or all our nature will go amiss. The heart is the rudder of the soul, and till the Lord take it in hand we steer in a false and foul way. O Lord, thou who didst once make me, be pleased to new make me, and in my most secret parts renew me. Renew a right spirit within me. It was there once, Lord, put it there again. The law on my heart has become like an inscription hard to read: new write it, gracious Maker. Remove the evil as I have entreated thee; but, O replace it with good, lest into my swept, empty, and garnished heart, from which the devil has gone out for a while, seven other spirits more wicked than the first should enter and dwell. The two sentences make a complete prayer. Create what is not there at all; renew that which is there, but in a sadly feeble state.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 10. Create in me a clean heart, O God. O you that created the first heaven and the first earth of nothing! O you that will create the new heaven and the new earth (wherein dwells righteousness), when sin had made the creature worse than nothing! O you that creates the new creature, the new man, fit to be an inhabitant of the new world, of the new Jerusalem! O thou that hast said, "Behold, I make all things new:" create thou in me, even in me, a clean heart; and renew a right spirit within me. Matthew Lawrence.

Verse 10. Create in me a clean heart, O God, etc. David prayeth the Lord to create him a new heart, not to correct his old heart, but to create him a new heart; showing that his heart was like an old garment, so rotten and tattered that he could make no good of it by patching or piecing, but even must cut it off, and take a new. Therefore Paul saith, "Cast off the old man;" not pick him and wash him till he be clean, but cast him off and begin anew, as David did. Will ye know what this renewing is? It is the repairing of the image of God, until we be like Adam when he dwelt in Paradise. As there is a whole old man, so there must be a whole new man. The old man must change with the new man, wisdom for wisdom, love for love, fear for fear; his worldly wisdom for heavenly wisdom, his carnal love for spiritual love, his servile fear for Christian fear, his idle thoughts for sanctified works. Henry Smith.

Verse 10. Create in me a clean heart. Creating, to speak properly, is to make of nought, and is here used improperly. The prophet speaketh according to his own feeling and present judgement of himself, as though he had lost all, and had no goodness in himself. No doubt the prophet's heart was in part clean, though not so much as he desired. These things thus opened, here cometh a question first to be answered. Quest. Whether David could have lost the cleanness of heart, having once had it? Ans. No. The gifts and calling of God, that is (as I take it), the gifts of effectual calling, are such as God never repenteth of or taketh away. Faith, hope, and charity are abiding gifts, as sure as the election of God, which is unchangeable. Indeed, the children of God, if we only considered them in themselves with their enemies, night fall away, but being founded upon the unchangeable nature of God, and immutability of his counsel, they cannot, the gates of hell shall not prevail against them, the elect cannot be deceived or plucked out of Christ's hands. Nay, certain it is that David did not actually leave his former cleanness. For sure it is, his heart smiting him (as here it did), so doing before in less matters, it was not wholly void of cleanness. And again, it could not pray for cleanness if it were not somewhat clean. This is most sure, that by grievous sins much filthiness cometh to the soul, as by a boisterous wind a tree may lose his leaves and some branches, so as that the party sinning may be brought into as great passions almost as if he had lost all, but the desire of grace is an infallible certainty of some grace of that kind. The prophet therefore desireth not a clean heart because he had it not in any sort, but because he could not so well perceive it in himself, and take such comfort in it as he had dome before, and for that he desired it a great deal more than now he had it. So learned, so rich men, think themselves not learned, not rich, in respect of that which they do desire, and when the sun is up, the moon seemeth to have no light. George Estey, in "Certain Godly and Learned Expositions," 1603.

Verse 10. Create in me a clean heart, O God, etc. This "creation" is from nothing. David uses the same word of our creation which Moses uses of "the creation of the heaven and the earth." Our creation "in Jesus Christ" is no mere strengthening of our powers, no mere aiding of our natural weakness by the might of the grace of God, it is not a mere amendment, improvement of our moral habits; it is a creation out of nothing, of that which we had not before. There was nothing in us whereof to make it. We were decayed, corrupt, dead in trespasses and sins. What is dead becometh not alive, except by the infusion of what it had not. What is corrupt receiveth not soundness, save by passing away itself and being replaced by a new production. "The old man" passeth not into the new man, but is "put off." It is not the basis of the new life, but a hindrance to it. It must be "put off" and the new man "put on," created in Christ Jesus. E. B. Pusey, D.D., 1853.

Verse 10. (first clause). He used the word creat (Heb. Bara), a word only used of the work of God, and showing that the change in him could be wrought only by God. Christopher Wordsworth.

Verse 10. A clean heart. The priest was required to make a strict examination of the skin of the leper before he could pronounce him clean; David prays God to make his heart clean. W. Wilson.

Verse 10. A right spirit. A steadfast spirit, i.e., a mind steady in following the path of duty. French and Skinner.

Verse 10-12. Who was to do this work? Not himself; God alone. Therefore, he prays: "O God, create -- O lord, renew; uphold by thy Spirit." Adam Clarke.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 10.

  1. The change to be effected.
  2. A clean heart.
  3. A right spirit.
  4. The power by which it is accomplished.
    1. A creative power, such as created the world at first.
    2. A renewing power, such as continually renews the face of the earth.
  5. The acquirement of these blessings. The prayer, "Create," etc.
Read Psalm 51:10