2 Kings 23:26–27: “Nevertheless the LORD did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath, with which His anger was aroused against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked Him. And the LORD said, ‘I will also remove Judah from My sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, “My name shall be there.”’”

May 15th, 2020 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Despite King Josiah’s spiritual reforms, Manasseh’s idol worship and “disgusting actions” had taken their toil on the nation. Jeremiah 5 tells us that although Judah’s outward worship had been correctly reestablished, the inward worship of idols remained in the people’s hearts. And shortly after Josiah’s death, the true condition of the people’s hearts resurfaced.

The heart is always the issue with Father God. In Psalm 51, King David prayed that God would create in him a clean heart. He wasn’t saying, “Change the way I behave.” He was saying, “Change my heart.” It’s not that how we outwardly behave isn’t important; it’s just that we’ve got to start inwardly with the heart. We can go through all the right motions without our hearts being right, but they’ll never last that way. But if the heart is right, everything else will fall into place.

David knew better than to try and change his heart himself. In fact, he knew he couldn’t. When David said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God,” he was going back to the language of creation itself, found in the first chapters of Genesis. The word create used in Psalm 51 is the very same Hebrew word used in Genesis. In fact, it is a word used only in connection with God, because it means to create something out of nothing. Human beings can fashion, arrange, and remodel things. But they can never create anything in the true sense of the word. We can’t bring into being something that never existed before. So we need God to create a clean heart in us. Without it, we will fail.

Edgar Allen Poe wrote a short story called, “The Tell-tale Heart.” It’s about a man who murders someone and buries the body under his floorboards. But he is unable to escape the haunting guilt of his deed. He begins to hear the heartbeat of his dead victim. Drenched in a cold sweat, he listens as the heartbeat pounds on and on, relentlessly growing louder and louder. Eventually it becomes clear that the pounding, which drives the man insane, is not coming from beneath the floorboards but from his own chest.

“LORD, create in us a new heart this day so we might serve You wholeheartedly.”