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TEXT: Psalm 51:18-19

SUBJECT: Kids' Sermon #54: For Your Name's Sake

Listen up, kids!

This afternoon, with God's blessing, we'll finish our study of Psalm 51. Last week, we spent a lot of time looking back at the Psalm and trying to remember its main points. I don't want to do that again, so let me very quickly remind you of them:

Because the Lord was so good to David, the man wanted to pay Him back (in a certain way). The mercy of God cannot be bought and paid for-because it's worth more than all the money in the world! But still, David was grateful. And a grateful man wants to find some way to show his appreciation.

You cannot hug and kiss God (the way you can your parents), but that's all right because you don't need to. The best ways to show the Lord how thankful you are for His mercy are the ways David chose. He:

These are the things David did to show God how thankful he was to Him. If you've received the Lord's mercies, you should do the same things he did.

Everyone owes God these things-even if you're unsaved-you do. But, if you're a Christian you owe Him a double debt of gratitude. You should feel the way another Psalmist did:

"What shall I render to the LORD

for all His goodness toward me?"

You notice: he's not looking for the least he can get away with. No, he's way too grateful for something like a few words mumbled to God or maybe a good work or two! He's looking to do the most he can to thank the Lord!

A NEW REQUEST

In v.18, where we start today, we find David asking for something new. In the first 12 verses he was asking God for things; in vv.13-17, he was promising things to God; and now, he's back at it-he wants more, more, more from the Lord.

When my boys were little, they loved The Berenstain Bear books. One of their favorites was about the cubs wanting too many things and throwing a fit in the store to get them. It's called The Galloping Greedy Gimmes!

Greediness is not only in books; you've got some of it you, too-we all do! And it's foolish and sinful.

Unless you're asking God for things-and the right things too. If you are, you can never, ever, ask for too much! He is both able and willing to give us everything we ask for. He doesn't always do it (because it's not always wise). But it's not because He's selfish and mean and doesn't care about us.

WHAT DAVID WANTS

What does David want? He wants the Lord to

"Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem".

Jerusalem-you know-was the capital of Israel and where the Ark of the Covenant was. The city was very dear to God and David wanted Him to bless it-to bless the people with good health and long lives and happy families-and mostly, with the things he had just gotten: forgiveness, washing, fellowship with God, and the great joy that comes with it.

Zion is David's fort. He wanted the Lord to bless it too. For it made the People of God safe from their enemies. That's what David wanted from the Lord: for the nation of Israel to no longer be hurt by his foolish and sinful acts, but for its strength and safety and success to be given back to it.

David is asking for big things. But that's okay because he's asking a Big God to do them!

THE CONNECTION

Why does David tack this on at the end of the Psalm? It seems like an afterthought, something you might say as your friend is getting in the car to drive: "Oh, one more thing."

But it's not that at all. In fact, it's a very important lesson. It's hard to pray for other people when things are not right between you and God. Oh, you can bow your head and mumble a few words now and then. But you're not really praying.

But as soon as things are right between you and the Lord, you can pray again! In Psalm 32, David describes what was going on in his life:

"When I kept silent, my bones grew old

through my groaning all the day long;

for day and night Your hand was heavy

upon me; my vitality was turned into

the drought of summer.

I acknowledged my sin to You,

And my iniquity I have not hidden.

I said I will confess my transgressions

To the LORD, and you forgave the

Iniquity of my sin."

When he was in sin, he couldn't pray. But when he finally broke down and confessed his sins to the Lord, he started praying!

Do you know why it's hard to pray when you've haven't confessed your sins? Because you know God knows and you know He's not happy with you. If you get in a fight with your friend, you feel the same way: things feel funny until you make up. Then you can talk for hours and hours and hours!

Do you want to pray? Do you want to pray for other people-your family, for example, or your friends, or maybe for me? If you do, you need to make things right with God. When you do, you'll be able to pray.

THE REASON

David wanted God to bless Jerusalem and Zion and he gave the Lord a reason for doing it. And the reason is: because I said so! No, that's not the reason. It's because they deserve it! Or, maybe, Because I earned it for them with my confession! Wrong!

In the last verse, he tells us why he wanted the Lord to bless Israel.

"Then You shall be pleased with sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then they shall offer bulls on Your altar".

What's this mean?

It means the Lord should bless them so that He would look good. If He doesn't bless them, their sacrifices will be nothing more than a barbecue! But He does bless them, the offerings will be sweet and everyone will know who did it.

We don't ask for favors because we deserve them. We ask God to bless us because He deserves it! The Lord looks good when He takes runaway children back and when He enables them to serve Him.

Jeremiah 14:7 says

"O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us, do it for Your name's sake, for our backslidings are many".

He says forgive us, restore us, and bless us, Lord, so that You will look good in the world! So that everyone will know how patient, kind, and merciful You are!

It means the Lord ought to bless them so that they can serve Him! It's wise to put oil in your car because-if you don't-your car won't take you anywhere. It's good to feed people who are working for you because-if you don't-they cannot work for you.

In the same way, it is wise and good for God to bless His people because-if He doesn't-they cannot serve Him or worship Him or praise Him.

THE ANSWER

Psalm 51 doesn't say if the Lord answered David or not. But the rest of the Bible does. The Lord did answer him-and not only restored the king-but blessed the whole nation in answer to his prayer.

CLOSE

Kids, you need mercy as much as David did. Why don't you ask God for it? And when He gives it, why don't you turn to the needs of other people-your parents, your brothers and sisters, your friends-and ask mercy for them, too?

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