Sunday August 28th 2011 – A UNITED HEART

Psalm 86:11-13

 11 Teach me Your way, O LORD;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.
12 I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And will glorify Your name forever.
13 For Your lovingkindness toward me is great,
And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.  (NSAB)

Beloved in Christ,

There is something very beautiful about a well played musical piece. When you hear a well performed symphony or even a solo piece, it is uplifting.  If there is an instrument in the orchestra that is not properly tuned, then it can ruin the performance. You can be a world class musician, but if your instrument is out of tune, then with all the best intentions in the world, the performance will not be good.

All of us, who are God’s children, are like instruments in God’s orchestra. In order for our performance to be uplifting and honouring to Him, we must allow Him to tune us, to lead us and to guide us. We must be totally reliant upon Him.

Sadly, all too often, the witness of the Christian Church has not been good, because it’s members are out of tune. Many have turned away from the Church, because they see hypocrisy. People who call themselves “Christians” do not always show it in their word and deeds.

In order for our witness to be good and pure, in order for our lives to be as a beautiful melody or a sweet aroma to God, we need to be submitted to Him in all things. Paul writing to the Romans wrote in chapter 12: “ 1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

As I have often pointed out to you, Paul is not writing about a one off event. He is writing about a continual, ongoing offering of ourselves to God, day by day.  A violinist will always check and tune his violin just before playing. The reason being that a violin can quickly go out of tune. If the strings are too taut or too loose then the sound will not be correct.

We live in a dirty world. Our environment is polluted with sin. If we are not abiding in God, if we are not continually in His hands, then we can quickly go out of tune. Every day we are bombarded with unholy images and ideas via all forms of media. We meet people who expound ungodly ideas and who are instruments of the devil’s lies. That is why we need to be like David who prayed: “Teach me Your way, O LORD;
I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. “

Teach me your way, Lord; I will walk in Your truth. Truth can only be found in God’s way. Walking in His truth is where we should be all the time. When we are in His truth, then we are free indeed.

Jesus said to the Jews: “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32
A person who does not continue in God’s Word, who is not abiding in Christ is not free, but a slave – a slave to sin. The wages of sin is death!

It is important to note that Jesus said: “If you continue in My word.” Here again the emphasis is on continuing, not just a one off acceptance of His word. Further on Jesus said: “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.John 8:36

When we are free indeed, then the witness, the testimony of our lives is beautiful, we are like a beautiful melody.

Over and over again in the Psalms we find the prayer: “teach me Your way, O Lord.”

If we pray this prayer from the heart, then it is a prayer that God loves to answer. However, it is not enough to just mouth the words, we must also submit ourselves to His teaching. The main way that He teaches us is through the Bible, His Word. We should read the Bible with an open heart praying that God would teach us and give us understanding. Again this is not a one off thing, but something we should do every day of our lives. The more we do read and grow in His Word, the more we experience the freedom that Jesus is talking about. The more we come to know the Truth, the freer we become.

Coinciding with this, we find a transformation taking place in our lives, Our outlook changes, our thinking changes. We go from being worldly to spiritual. In the hands of our loving heavenly Father we are transformed into a well tuned and beautiful instrument, that honours Him.

David prayed “Unite my heart to fear Your name.”  He is praying for an undivided heart. Only when our heart is undivided, only when it is truly united, are we in the right place in our relationship with God. Jesus clearly taught that we cannot serve two masters, yet so many people try to do exactly that.

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Matthew 6:24

We must decide. We cannot live in two worlds. We cannot serve God and money. The thing is, if we seek after worldly goods, then eventually we will leave it all behind. As one pastor put it so well: “I have yet to see a hearse towing a trailer.”  A person who does not live for God. will eventually lose it all. On the other hand, if we seek first the Kingdom of God, then we have everything we need here, as well as eternity.

Jesus said: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

When we put God first, when we have an undivided heart, then He adds all that we need, and gives us much more.

David spells this out in Psalm 23:

 1 The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

I believe that it is God’s desire that this would be our testimony. In order for this to be so, we must pray each day: Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.  I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Your name forever.  For Your lovingkindness toward me is great,
And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.  

I challenge you to pray this every morning next week. Read Psalm 86 aloud everyday next week and make it part of your morning devotion.

You will find that your life’s melody will start to take on a nicer tone. Dissonance and discords will disappear and there will be sweet accords, that glorify God. Other’s will notice this and be blessed. You will experience greater freedom and a closer walk with God.


Pastor Colvin S. MacPherson Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sydney.

All Bible quotations taken from New American Standard Bible.