Burning Bulls and Broken Hearts

Burning Bulls and Broken Hearts

Psalm 51:16-19
by Bob Burridge ©2012

We often hear people say they have a heart condition. Though every heart is always in some condition, they usually mean they have some kind of unhealthy condition. Their heart may have its blood supply reduced. It may have suffered damage to its tissue, nerves or valves. There may be interruptions in the way neural impulses control the contractions of the heart muscles which pump blood through the lungs then throughout the body.

Physical heart conditions can make a person get out of breath or tire easily. Repairs might be needed so the person could resume normal activities. He may need by-pass surgery, angioplasty, or a stent to improve the blood supply. Sometimes damaged valves need to be repaired or replaced. He may need a pacemaker to ensure synchronization and full operation of the chambers.

There are also problems with the heart spiritually. Just as a physical heart must at the very least be alive before it can be repaired, so also a spiritual heart must be alive spiritually. It must be redeemed. As we know all too well, even the redeemed heart can still have problems. When we suffer with the spiritual kind of heart condition, our worship and prayer can seem laborsome. Our service to others and management of our time, possessions, and abilities can become limited.

When King David was confronted with his sin and guilt, he became concerned because his heart was not right as he approached God.

To understand this last part of Psalm 51
we need to go back in time to the sacrificial system.

David had captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites, and made it the capitol of Israel. When the ark was recovered he brought it there to establish Jerusalem as the center of worship.

At that time Israel lived under the form of God’s covenant given through Moses. Every day, crowds gathered at the tent of the Tabernacle to bring their sacrifices. There was the sound of bellowing animals, the sight of blood flowing over the altar, and the smell in the air of flesh being burned before the Lord.

It was a dramatic display of what our sins deserve. There must be a shedding of blood representing the penalty of death. The sacrifice held out God’s amazing promise that He will provide a substitute to die in the place of the sinner.

Those looking at this graphic scene of the sacrificial worship of the Tabernacle could only see the outward actions of the priests and the people. When God viewed it, he also looked upon the heart of those involved in the proceedings.

What we see in worship today is also just the outward part. We might see people calling upon the Lord in prayer, families gathered to read Scripture and pray together, churches assembled on the Sabbath with the singing of hymns, giving attention to sermons, and the distributing of the elements of the Lord’s Supper.

But in all these outward forms, we must remember that God looks upon the heart. When we worship, or come thankfully for cleansing from sin, we must remember that it is the heart, not just the knees, which must be humbly bowed before God. This was King David’s awareness in this next verse of Psalm 51.

Psalm 51:16, “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.”

How could David say that God did not desire or take pleasure in the sacrifices? They were his sacrifices! He had commanded them! But David also knew that there was more to them than just the outward rituals. What God commanded was not just the death of animals by priests. He established that process so that repentant people could come admitting what their sins deserved, and showing their trust in the promise of God to redeem them.

The enemy of our faith is very cunning and subtle. He has gotten very few to openly worship the kingdom of Satan. In attacking the family of God he knows that not many will be fooled into blatant paganism. Instead, he twists things around. He gets us to blend the form of truth with the substance of a lie.

The synthetic religion that comes out of that process is a thing that may look good outwardly, but inwardly it makes everything point to the glory of the creature instead of honoring the Creator. What is left of the Creator is a watered down deity begging us not to spoil his plans.

The sacrifices of Israel had deteriorated into a works religion.

It was imagined that by killing animals God would be impressed, and would remit our sins. Many make the common error that before the time of Jesus Christ sins were atoned for by sacrifices. This was the error of the ancient Jews. The principle underlying that error continues to cloud the minds of many religious people today.

God never said that the killing of animals as sacrifices, the burnt offerings of the young bulls, were the actual grounds for salvation. The priestly sacrifices did not remove sin’s guilt by themselves. They represented God’s covenant promise to provide a salvation we are not qualified to earn.

Today we understand more about how our Savior restores his people to fellowship with God. We know how God took on the nature of a human, and in that nature died in place of his people. This promised Messiah became the Lamb of God to shed his blood for his people.

The Old Testament taught what every believer should have known about the sacrifices. Their real nature was revealed in the law and explained by the prophets. Even before Christ, the true worshipers knew that justice demands eternal death for sin, and that somehow God would pay that price for his people.

By grace alone God applied that future work of the Messiah to his people before Jesus was born. That work of grace regenerated their spiritually dead hearts, and implanted in them the faculty of true faith. That faith drove the believers to repentance and to trust in the covenant promises about forgiveness of sin. To show their gratitude, their regenerated hearts desired to obey God and to worship him as he said they should. That meant bringing sacrifices to him according to the law, which included an understanding of the promise that God would redeem his people by grace alone.

If a person brought a sacrifice without a redeemed heart, it did not remove his sin. That kind of sacrifice was a denial of the provision of God. It imagined that man could save himself by rituals. That kind of worship is condemned in the Bible, in the ancient law itself. God took no delight in such an abomination.

In the Book of Hebrews chapter 10, this is explained clearly.

Hebrews 10:4, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. ”

Hebrews 10:11, “And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.”

Without a right heart a sacrifice cannot be acceptable to God. What makes the heart right is the work of God’s grace. It was God’s provision in the Promised Savior, not what the worshiper did, that made the ancient sacrifices beneficial. David was not demeaning the God-ordered sacrifice, only the superficial degradation of it.

In contrast to the mere outward forms we see,
God looks upon the heart.

Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart — These, O God, You will not despise.”

A broken and contrite heart shows the inner work of God’s grace. It shows evidence of the atonement which was demonstrated outwardly in the physical sacrifices. Very few things are best when broken — but one of those things is the human heart.

One of the fun candies we used to enjoy when I was a kid was called Turkish Taffy. I’ve seen it around still, but more as a nostalgic novelty candy. It was a solid hard bar you could hardly bite into without damaging your teeth. Before you opened the package, you slammed it down hard on the table broking it apart into bite-sized pieces. When you put them in your mouth they would slowly melt and become chewy and tasty.

Most things cannot be used when they get broken. But the heart is not broken in that way. A spiritually dysfunctional heart is broken so that it can be renewed to work as God created it to work.

The Hebrew word translated “contrite” is “dikah” (דכה). In the form used here it means to be crushed. It is used in Numbers 11:8 of seed that is ground up in a mortar into a fine flower for baking. We must be brought low before God. We need to be crushed down by the recognition of our sin and personal unworthiness if our worship is to lift us up to see the glory of our most Holy Creator.

The world would think it strange that we find humble contrition over sin and joy in the same place together. The two are only incompatible when there is no atonement. The world’s false joy is the illusion of a heart deceiving itself about its guilt.

This is the worship which God will not despise. It is his own work done in our needy hearts. David would give all he could, if his own effort would help, but he knew it would not. So he came crushed, humbled, clinging to the promises of God which cannot fail.

David was not only concerned for himself.

Psalm 51:18, “Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem.”

Zion was the hill in Jerusalem where David planned to one day build a permanent temple to God. Of course God chose Solomon after him to actually build the temple there.

The King wanted the place where God’s people gathered for worship to be specially blessed. Instead of being where abominable sacrifices were made by those who came in ignorance and self-trust, he wanted it to be divinely favored so that its worship would truly honor the Lord.

As we pray, we should remember to ask God’s blessing upon the church as it gathers in the place of worship on the Sabbath. We should pray that all who come together on that day would have a right attitude, trusting in the true sacrifice of Christ with broken hearts.

Pray during the week and specially on Saturday for families and individuals as they prepare for the Sabbath morning. As you get up on Sunday pray that each one who attends will be ready and looking forward to the worship time. We may have many motives that make us anticipate our gatherings for worship, but the prime motive should not be to see friends, to hear a stimulating lesson, or to sing uplifting music. It should be above all else our driving desire to come humble but thankfully to honor our Creator-Redeemer for his work of grace and unfailing promises.

Preparation for Sunday worship is more than laying out your clothes the night before. It also means getting your heart right so that your worship will not be superficial and only outward. Come remembering the grace that made you want to be there.

David also wanted to wall in the city of Jerusalem to make it safe from her enemies. The job had begun, but there was still much to do. Though it would not be completed until the time of Solomon, David prayed that the work of national defense would be blessed by God.

David’s concern for God’s blessings on Zion and protection of Jerusalem was not just outward. The whole theme of this Psalm is about David’s concern over his sin and its effects. Back in verse 11 David expressed his fear that God would withdraw the Holy Spirit’s enablement from him. He did not want to become an ineffective King as happened with Saul before him.

The Psalm now shows David’s concern that his sins might also bring trouble to his nation. He did not want the worship or safety of Jerusalem endangered because of what he did. David again shows the tender and devoted heart of a gifted King.

When believers make excuses for their sins, and show no interest in reforming, God lovingly chastises them as wayward children. This is evident back in verses 11 and 12. The Lord may withdraw their inner peace and sense of assurance and hope. Sometimes he may bring outward suffering. When one member of the body goes through hard times, the whole body can be effected. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:26, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

When we sin or drift away from the Lord, we need to be concerned for its effect on others. As David prayed, we should ask the Lord to bless his church and to keep her safe when we sin.

Our primary focus must always be
to please God in our worship and living.

Psalm 51:19, “Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, With burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.”

In this last verse of the Psalm, David envisions a restored church. With a restored King, and the blessing of God upon the people, their worship, and the city, the sacrifice would again become pleasing to the Lord.

The actual event that would take place in history making the true sacrifice, and making the restoration of sinners possible was yet to come in the course of time. However, even in those times before the birth of Jesus Christ, David knew God’s promises. He understood that his heart had to be to be right before God could be pleased with his worship. The blood and burning flesh of bulls could not change his heart. Only the work of grace based upon the one great promised substitute toward which the blood sacrifices pointed could do that.

In John 1:29, John the baptist saw Jesus coming and he said to his disciples, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

It was our Savior’s death on the cross that actually paid the price of the sins of God’s people. It applies to the past, present and future. No sin was ever, nor could ever be, removed upon any other grounds.

What the burning of bulls could not accomplish, the cross of Calvary did. Describing the finished work of Jesus, Hebrews 10:12 says, “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,”

How is your spiritual heart as you come to worship God?

Is it broken over sin so that it is ready to be repaired by God’s wonders and promises? Is it relying upon the work of grace through Christ as its only and infallible hope? Is it concerned for the well being of the whole church, and all its members? Is it focused upon the pleasure of God in all you do?

To develop a spiritually healthy heart, the needs of our physical heart can be good reminders. Your physical heart needs a good supply of blood to feed it and keep it strong. The redeemed heart needs to be fed too. The nutrients God provides and moves us to embrace will be used to strengthen us spiritually.

The Bible points to the nutrition we need. If we fail to feed upon God’s truth, we will trust in lies that starve our souls. If we neglect to commune with God in prayer, we show no confidence in his care and promises. We will then suffer for lack of this important nutrient our soul desperately needs.

The healthy heart also needs to engage in humble worship through Christ. It is there that we thankfully receive the word and sacraments as we lift up our hearts in praise expressing our gratitude for his mercies.

God has also established his church to be an encouraging family to provide fellowship, care, and admonition of one another. When we reach out in mutual care and admonition we show the love of God at work in our otherwise self-centered hearts. 1 John 3:17 warns, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”

A sound physical heart is fundamental to a person being healthy. A spiritually healthy heart is also necessary if our lives and times of worship are to please God. When we engage in the remedies God prescribes in his word, we will discover the evidence of the Holy Spirit at work to repair our heart condition.

How different David must have felt after he made things right with God again after his sin. Before then, every time he entered the Temple his conscience would have torn at his heart. Oh, the relief and peace of God’s merciful forgiveness bringing joy into the place where there was tension!

How different the Apostle Paul must have felt after he came to Christ. The Temple, all its furnishings and sacrifices which he had known all his life, which he had studied under Gamaliel, all took on a totally new dimension when he came to know the Savior toward which the rituals pointed. Oh, the forgiveness he personally felt, as one who felt he was the chief of sinners!

It was never burning bulls or bleeding lambs that made people right with God. It was the suffering Messiah which the sacrifices represented. We discover him to be our Savior and Lord by grace through faith in his word of promise, a gospel that heals broken hearts.

Psalm 51 is a treasure chest of blessings. It is a model of humble confession, and confidence in amazing grace.

(Note: The Bible quotations in this article are from the New King James Bible unless otherwise noted.)

The Fruit of Restoration

The Fruit of Restoration

Psalm 51:13-15
by Bob Burridge ©2012

There are times when we wish we could go back and do something differently. It might be a decision that put us in harm’s way, or choices where wisdom was set aside and the consequences of our bad judgment torment us for a long time. Bad investments or unwise purchases can plunge us into lingering debts. Poorly chosen words can ruin a friendship, and an inattentive moment can cause an accident where lives are changed forever.

Among those regrets are the times when we have done things contrary to God’s moral principles. As believers we struggle with that awful awareness that we have offended the God who redeemed us. Our conscience burns away inside when we imagine how we must appear to our Creator’s holy eyes.

When we are crushed by debts, or humbled by calamities, it is wonderful to be told that the problem has been taken care of and is finally behind us. We learn the joy of a debt that has been cleared, of a disease that has been cured, of a surgery that went well, or of the passing of some bad experience or threat. That kind of news makes us want to thank anyone who might have helped make it happen for us. It’s hard not to let our joy show.

Luke records a situation in the life of Jesus Christ that illustrates this principle.

Luke 7:36-50 tells about the time Simon the Pharisee invited Jesus to his home. While he was there a woman with a sinful reputation came to honor Jesus. She came thankfully because she knew that she was forgiven for her sins. Moved with gratitude and great emotion, she walked up behind Jesus and began to weep. Her tears dropped down onto Jesus feet. She loosened her hair and used it to wipe his feet. Then she started to kiss the feet of her Savior. Next she broke open a costly alabaster jar of very expensive perfume and started to anoint his feet. With no thought for social customs, she was overcome with gratitude and love.

Ignoring the rules of the Pharisees, Jesus did not rebuke her. He permitted her to continue. Simon said nothing out loud, but he thought to himself, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.” (Luke 7:39)

Not only did Jesus know who this woman was, he knew her heart, and he knew Simon’s inner thoughts too. He answered the unspoken concerns of Simon’s heart with a parable in Luke 7:40-42.

Two men were in debt to the same lender. One owed 500 denarii, another owed 50 denarii. Neither was able to pay his debt. But to their relief, the lender canceled both debts. Then Jesus asked Simon which of the two will love him most?

Simon answered very carefully, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” Jesus told Simon that he was right. Then Jesus explained the lesson. He not only interprets it for us, he applies it in Luke 7:44-50.

First he pointed out Simon’s own lack of hospitality. Simon offered him no water to wash his feet, no towel, no kiss of welcome, no anointing oil. He had shown little concern for honoring his guest. In contrast, this woman washed his feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, had not stopped kissing his feet, and brought expensive perfume to anoint him.

Then Jesus came to his main point, he confirmed that the woman’s sins had been forgiven. He said in Luke 7:47, “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”

By her service and love this woman evidenced that she had been forgiven. Luke’s account points to the source of love and devotion. It flows from a forgiven heart changed by the grace of God.

Simon showed no love, no sense of service, therefore had no evidence of forgiveness. The implication was devastating if understood.

Nathan also used a parable when he came to expose King David’s sin.

In 2 Samuel 12:1-4 Nathan told King David about a rich man with many flocks and herds. When a visitor came to him, instead of using one of his own lambs for the meal he killed one which was kept as a loved animal by a poor family which had nothing but that one lamb.

When David heard the story he was angry, and said that the rich man who did this deserved to die. He should restore the lamb fourfold. Then Nathan said to David, “Thou art the man.”

The prophet Nathan had not come to David alone, the Holy Spirit was there too. David felt the weight of his sin after his secret adultery with Bathsheba, after his attempts to cover it up and his conspiracy with a military commander to have Bathsheba’s husband killed. As Nathan spoke, the King was humbled repentantly before God.

It was upon this occasion that David wrote this wonderful Psalm we know as Psalm 51. In the first 12 verses he admitted his guilt and offense against God, and expresses his confidence in God’s promises of grace. Assured of restoration David continued in the next portion of the Psalm.

David hoped that others would be helped by his restoration.

Psalm 51:13, “Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.”

David’s concern was not limited to himself. He evidenced the heart of a true King. He saw his restoration as a way to help God’s people, those who were sinners like himself. He did not aspire to help only the great, the rich, or the famous who would build up his reputation or ego. The single characteristic that marked out the objects of his concern was their awareness of a need for spiritual restoration. He wanted to help offenders like himself, whoever they might be.

David also understood the importance of declaring what God has made known to us. The ways of God must be taught because they are the means God has ordained by which the Holy Spirit works in our hearts when we have done that which offends our Creator. The revealed word enlivened in us by grace exposes our need and drives us into the arms of the Savior.

David wanted God to make him an example of how grace restores us though we have proven our utter unworthiness and depravity. He wanted to be the teacher God would use to convert sinners. Being “converted” is not just changing religions as the world often uses that term. It is the change produced in someone’s life by God’s grace. God delivers his word through those he uses as teachers. The results and evidences of this work of grace are seen in the lives of God’s people. This is how David hoped to help others who were sinners as he was.

Often those who have overcome a problem can be used in a special way to help those struggling with the same issues. There are support groups made up of those who have recovered from diseases, or who have gone through other types of serious tragedies. As Charles Spurgeon said, “Reclaimed poachers make the best gamekeepers.” It was John Newton, the redeemed slave trader who helped end slavery in England, and wrote Amazing Grace, one of the greatest hymns of all time.

Those delivered from serious sins can have a special ministry of encouragement. Of course no one should ever glamorize sin or suffering, nor should anyone make it seem good to fall so that we can specially help others after we recover. But when we fall, as those forgiven and restored by grace, we can rejoice in being able to specially help others taken in by temptation.

The Bible provides many examples where God used penitent sinners as encouraging examples of the work of Grace.

The Apostle Paul was a fierce persecutor of Christians. He was a Pharisee who believed that he was righteous in himself and had no need for a Savior. When redeemed, God used him to bring many self-righteous people to faith in Christ, and to promote joy to those who had become aware of their sinful offenses.

King David is the example here in Psalm 51. Little did he know how his experience and this Psalm would effect so many struggling sinners for thousands of years after his death. There have been many thousands of encouraging sermons and commentaries written on this helpful Psalm.

The redeemed become an example of God’s deliverance to others who also need that salvation. Never let your sin be a discouragement that keeps you from seeking to be a witness to the gospel of grace. Instead, your deliverance should motivate you all the more to tell the good news. Bishop William Cowper wrote, “Every talent received from God should be put to profit, but specially the talent of mercy; as it is greatest, so the Lord requires greater fruit of it, for his own glory, and for the edification of our brethren.”

Those delivered from sin are the ones God often uses in helping others discover his work of restoration through the work of Christ. The only testimony properly admitted in a trial is that which comes from first-hand witnesses. Those who have merely heard someone else say something are not allowed to testify. This is why God’s word calls the redeemed to be his witnesses. They have seen his work first hand and can know the shame of guilt, and appreciate the triumphant message of grace.

We need to overcome our fallen nature that suggests that evil sinners cannot be redeemed, or that fallen believers are beyond hope. We should never forget that these are exactly the kinds of persons God promises to redeem and to restore. God is able, and his promises can never fail.

The elect are invisible until they show a credible trust in the work of the Savior. When the redeemed fall into sin, the truth of their deliverance may seem uncertain to others until they are restored repentantly to rediscover the joys of God’s grace. The momentary invisibility of grace at work should not be seen as evidence that it is not about to demonstrate itself in a struggling life.

The means of this salvation and restoration is the promise of God, declared and demonstrated by other believers in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is our privilege to be the tools in the hand of our Creator bringing the word of the gospel to those in need of its hope. This was David’s great encouragement.

David anticipated his offering great praise.

Psalm 51:14-15, “Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.”

David did not excuse his sin, or minimize what he had done. He asked to be delivered from nothing less than bloodguiltiness. Literally, it means he asked to be “delivered from bloods.” This is a plural of emphasis which often indicates crimes that carry the death penalty. David had committed adultery with another man’s wife, and he planned the death of her husband. Yet he never lost confidence in the power of God to save him from his guilt and deserved penalty.

It may seem like a strange qualification for a witness of God’s righteousness, that he would admit to bloodguiltiness. But humble repentance is a more important characteristic for the believer than an imagined sense of innocence or superiority.

One time our family doctor sent me to a specialist for some minor surgery. The surgeon was good in the operating room, but had a reputation for being short and cold toward his patients. Some months later I was in for a check up and our doctor asked if I remembered how harsh the surgeon had been. I remembered very well. Then he told me that he was not that way any more. He had since undergone surgery himself. Now he was noticeably more understanding and open with his patients.

When God humbles us by our sin and guilt, we appreciate the agony of others as they struggle with feelings of guilt before they understand how much they are forgiven by our gracious God.

David expected that his restored soul would not be able to contain his joy. It would break forth with singing about God’s righteousness. Songs about God’s goodness to us fill thousands of editions of hymnals.

Would we not rather expect David’s joyful song to be about his deliverance rather than about God’s righteousness? The King’s great joy was not simply that he was now off the hook for his guilt, but that God was no longer offended by it, yet without violation of the holy justice of his Creator. He was forgiven, but the eternal righteousness of God was preserved.

What he had done was so horrible that he deserved death and eternal infinite condemnation. He did not merely ask God to overlook his sin. He did not hope in a divine amnesia where somehow his sins were just ignored. That kind of mercy and forgiveness is an unfounded myth. It would be righteousness disregarded and justice violated.

David was a king. He knew that offenses must be satisfied justly. If he was promised forgiveness and restoration, that must mean that the debt was paid in full. Though he knew less of our Savior’s work than we do today, that promise given in Eden, foreshadowed in the law, and repeatedly announced by the Prophets was his hope.

God’s righteousness imparted to him by the work of a loving Savior was a wonderful theme for his songs of praise. David’s maturity before God came as he humbled himself in childlike submission to grace. It is amazing how much we grow up, when we humbly bow down.

When we sin, as we all do, our humble confession and praise is a good lesson to the world and to other struggling believers. Psalm 40:3 says, “He has put a new song in my mouth — Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the LORD.”

Sadly, even as God’s redeemed children, instead of songs of joy as we look at God’s promises, our tongues and lips often complain when calamity comes. Or they whimper in depression when guilt weighs down upon us. Excuses are sought out, and blame is shifted to others we imagine are to blame for our improper behaviors and attitudes. As James 3:6 tells us, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.”

However, lips, tongues and mouths were designed to sing praises to God. The next time you use your mouth, lips and tongue, remember why you have them. God displaces a world of wickedness when he looses our tongues to sing his praises. How wonderful to have those parts converted back to their original function. That is the good fruit our restoration brings.

Like the woman who was driven to anoint the feet of Jesus with her tears, like the man who loved much because he was forgiven a great debt, like David whose sins of blood-guiltiness were paid for by a Savior who was yet to come, we need to own up to own debt, and appreciate its costly payment by grace upon a Roman Cross outside of Jerusalem.

In the one who is forgiven much, there is much love, and it cannot contain itself. It will stir in us an uncontainable desire to tell others, and to help them discover God’s grace too. It will make our hearts break forth in humble praise and thanksgiving.

Where is our love? our daily and Sabbath praise? our testimony to others? Where is our passion to help others find the joy of salvation? It ought to be the natural desire of the truly redeemed soul. May God stir our hearts to that kind of humble love and thankful service.

(Note: The Bible quotations in this article are from the New King James Bible unless otherwise noted.)