Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10 ESV)
Create. The word means more than just to make something. In fact, it means an act only God can truly achieve. It means forming something out of nothing.
After King David’s great sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah, and after being confronted by the prophet Nathan, he composed this Psalm as part of his repentance. It’s one of my favorite Psalms for 2 reasons:
1. I can relate with the inner turmoil of knowing that one has done evil and of the fear that comes with an awareness that one’s relationship with God is not right.
2. It’s a reminder of God’s graciousness. That no matter how dark our sin, we are free to approach Him, in humility, yes, in awe of His power, yes, but also in secure relationship.
We can go back to Him, as dirty as we really are, still fully loved.
In the verse, David uses the word “create” to admit that there’s nothing clean about him. That if he was going to have a clean heart, God would have to make it out of nothing. David was admitting, “God, there’s nothing pure about me, no righteousness of my own. Please make the heart You desire, even if you have to make it out of nothing.”