David demonstrated his outward worship of the LORD on many occasions. He openly rejoiced and even danced with joy when the Ark of the Covenant was brought back from the house of Obededom to Jerusalem. (see II Sam.6:14). He refused the gifts of the threshing floor and oxen of Araunah because he would not be a cheapskate and offer to the LORD a burnt offering which cost him nothing. (see II Sam.24:18-25) Or who could forget the occasion when his loyal soldiers heard him mention that he longed for a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem, and then they risked their lives to get it for him. Yet rather than drink it, he poured out the water as an offering to the LORD. (see II Sam. 23:14-17)
Time would fail us to tell of his mighty deeds done in the name of the LORD, as he slew bears, lions, and even an uncircumcised Philistine giant who dared besmirch the honor of the GOD of Israel. This is the same man who wrote the majority of the Psalms. The one who said "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." (Psa 122:1) and also, "For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." (Psa 84:10)
Yea and did not even the LORD HIMSELF testify that David was "a man after mine own heart". (see Acts 13:22). Who could ever doubt David's sincerity or question his integrity as a man of GOD? Was he not even of the same sort of pedigree that Paul confessed was his own when he said, "Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless." (Phi 3:4-6)
Who could forget the righteousness of Job who did not so much as sin with his lips before the LORD. Yet Job was brought low before the LORD and ultimately stripped of any confidence he might ever have had in himself and taught his utter barrenness in the presence of the Living GOD. So also was Peter whose bravery and "faith" was legendary among the disciples, stripped of all confidence in himself when the words of CHRIST rang in his ears as the dawn broke and the cock crowed.
Paul was delivered to the exact same place on the road to Damascus. And now David is brought face to face with his own traitorous wickedness as the prophet Nathan thunders out the chilling indictment, "Thou art the man." I don't know exactly how long it took but, shortly afterwards, David was moved to pen the words of the fifty-first Psalm. Therein he captured the experience that every one of GOD's little children must in time become acquainted with. Now while the manner in which they are brought there is seldom as dramatic as that of David or Paul yet the reality of their destination is exactly the same.
All of those who have ever undergone (and are still undergoing) the heartwork of the HOLY GHOST are stripped or are presently being stripped of any confidence that they could possibly have in themselves. The universal knowledge of all of those who have by the operation of HIS grace been brought out of darkness and into the light is that HIS imputed righteousness alone is the only basis upon which they might have confidence to approach the throne of GOD and find a place of acceptance there.
On the one hand we can say with the apostle "we have no confidence in the flesh", yet HIS work in us makes us quite aware that that same flesh under whose dominion we were born is still determined to assert and reestablish its place of dominion. The only power that can keep it at bay is the work of HIM who has begun a good work in us and has promised to perform it until the day of JESUS CHRIST. (see Phil. 1:6)
HE is pleased to teach us how weak we are and how devilish our flesh is by reminding us of sin's presence and how prone we are to its siren call apart from HIS grace. "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2Co 12:9)
There is no shortage of preachers in the present age (or in the past for that matter) who tell men that they have within themselves the power not to sin (or at least the ability to gain that power), that they have some imparted righteousness or nature which is immune to sin. Bookstores are filled with books whose message is that of instructing men how to overcome sin and live a victorious life. Some even tell us they have achieved it
Yet those, whom the HOLY GHOST instructs, agree with the apostle John when he said, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1Jo 1:8) They are convinced that an outward conformity to a moral law or some religious code, however ancient or firmly established is not a place that a man can rest and find comfort.
Job, a man whom GOD called righteous (compared to men) was yet brought to a place where HE said, "Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:6) David discovered the wickedness of his own heart and was made to confess "THOU desirest truth in the inward parts." The LORD JESUS basically said the same thing to the Samaritan woman. "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:23-24)
The Hebrew word which is translated "inward parts" here in the Psalm is very interesting. It literally means an overlaying or that which is covered. I am reminded here that all of the righteousness which the children of GOD have before the FATHER is that in which they are "covered" or "hidden" by the "righteousness of CHRIST". Our only acceptance before the LORD is the imputed righteousness of CHRIST. It is in a recognition of this alone wherein a man might ever hope to be found pleasing in the FATHER's sight. All other expectations of acceptance are but refuse before HIM.
The SPIRIT teaches the children of GOD the same thing even as Paul testified, "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." (Phi 3:8-9)mam