Psalm 51:6 says, “You teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” (ESV)
I’m not sure I understand this phrase, to be honest with you. I’ll likely do a little research (and read your comments on what this verse is talking about), but for now here are my streaming thoughts in real-time, mostly in the form of a prayer as I wrestle with this verse.
The words “secret heart” seem a strange combination. I suppose it is deep, deep down within me that I want You to teach me wisdom. At the core of who I am, teach me wisdom, God.
If I squirt lighter fluid on charcoal and immediately light it, the fluid burns off before the charcoal itself has a chance to catch fire. But if given time to soak in, the briquettes have a greater chance of also being consumed.
So I guess what I’m praying here, God, is that I don’t want a brief stream of wisdom that mostly ricochets off the surface of my life, a form of wisdom that is little more than a flash of brilliance that quickly burns out. God, I need Your wisdom to soak into my “secret heart” – deep, deep down within me. I want a wisdom that is not only flammable but sustainable. What I do NOT want is some flashy wisdom that leaves others with the aftertaste of some undercooked words of surface wisdom.
David penned this psalm in the context of confession. As he repented and sought God’s forgiveness, he recognized his need for a deep-down-inside wisdom that consumed him and changed him at his very core. This was not an “Oops! You caught me, God!” confessional; it emerged from the depths of brokenness. Perhaps wisdom will only soak in as deeply as we allow our brokenness to fracture us. Shallow brokenness produces surface wisdom. But when our brokenness reaches the core of who we are, then wisdom has a chance to seep into that same secret heart.
David doesn’t appear to be looking for a quick fix. He is not interested in saving face; it was about saving faith. How do I respond to sin in my life? Am I more interested in saving face, or saving faith?