The birth of Jesus Christ is a testimony to God’s ability to do the impossible. I think it is interesting that the birth of Jesus isn’t recognized as the most impossible thing that has ever been done. Maybe its because we’ve been celebrating Jesus’ birth for so many years that we’ve forgotten the significance of God becoming a man.
When David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10), he was asking God to do something that had never been done before, something that David knew was impossible. The word that David used, create or bârâ’ (baw – raw´) in Hebrew, has profound theological significance. The verb bara’ “expresses creation out of nothing” (1254).
David wanted God to give him a new heart, one that was clean or sinless. In order for God to do what David was asking, he would have had to go back to the drawing board so to speak, and replace the heart that David had been born with. The heart David was referring to was not the organ in his chest that pumped blood throughout his body, but the lêb (labe), the heart that “includes not only the motives, feelings, affections, and desires, but also the will, the aims, the principles, the thoughts, and the intellect of man” (3820).
As far as I know, God did not give David a new heart. What David asked God to do was impossible…until Jesus came and established a new covenant, one that enabled a person to be born again.
God responded to David’s prayer approximately 400 years later. Through the prophet Ezekiel, the LORD spoke about Israel’s restoration and return to the Promised Land after they were scattered among the heathen.
For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
It could be that the transfer of God’s spirit from Jesus to his disciples after Christ rose from the dead was the only way that David’s prayer could be answered. The word translated new, châdâsh (khaw – dawsh´) “means ‘new’ both in the sense of recent or fresh and in the sense of something not previously existing” (2319). In order to create a new heart in a person, God does not obliterate the heart that already exists, he adds a heart to it (Jesus), and causes the two to become one, a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17).