Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
Built the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you shall be pleased with the sacrifices of the righteousness,
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.
Have you ever read the entire Psalm 51 chapter? If you followed along with Hope is Hard this week, then you have. This is one of my FAVORITE Psalms. In the quiet of night, I have whispered time and time again “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me!” Other times I have prayed and prayed “Restore in me the joy of your salvation, and grant in me a willing spirit.”
I love this song because it’s so REAL. It worships God’s character, and also acknowledges the struggles of our sinful nature. We are so desperate for the Lord that we literally need HIM to help us want Him.
David sums up the human struggle in 45 beautiful lines. How helpless we are without Him. How gracious He is with us. There is no condemnation, only a stirring in our spirit’s that it’s hopeless without His loving grace.
It’s BECAUSE of His goodness that we can do good. It’s BECAUSE of His offering that we have the capacity to offer. It’s BECAUSE of His righteousness that we can give the sacrifice of the righteous.
I am 1,000% behind building personal altars – testaments to God’s goodness and grace here and there. Building an altar so that I never forget.
The thing about altars is that they always look differently. Sometimes they are HUGE – a whole bull. A prayer request that was answered in an unspeakable way. A total, supernatural, and unshakeable moment that screams Holy Spirit. Those altars might only come once or twice in our lifetime. But, we build that altar so that we don’t forget- right?
Sometimes altars are small: just whispers of gifts. A warm smile, an unexpected kind word, or cool breeze on a sweltering day. These altars deserve to be built too. We won’t always build an altar that is huge or life changing. Most of the time, our altars are the simple ones. They’re the ones that aren’t life shattering or huge. But the small little moments- those are the ones that discipline our hearts to build altars in the first place.
Anyone can give thanks when there is an obvious reason to.
But it’s only by the grace of God that we are able to notice the small gifts, give thanks, and remember them. After all, this is a great sacrifice of the righteous: to recognize, give praise, and REMEMBER.
It’s hard to give thanks when you don’t feel like it, and it’s even harder to practice remembering the moment. And in order to give thanks, we first must have eyes to see every gift and every parcel in our wake.
It is a sacrifice, isn’t it? But a grateful heart is one mirrored after the Father’s, and in order to know the goodness of our Lord, we first must recognize His goodness. And so, no matter the cost, I will build altar after altar day after day. Because I never want to forget His great mercy and His great love.