Psalm 51:10-12 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
This Psalm is one of the most famous prayers recorded in the whole Bible. The circumstances are of course when David was confronted with his horrible sin of using murder to try to cover up adultery. What makes David different from so many people was that he didn’t try to run from God, but rather threw himself on God’s mercy in honest acknowledgment of what he had done. He knew that his heart was not pure, so he asked God to make him a new one. He knew that his spirit had wavered horribly, so he asked God to renew it. Rather than running from God, he wanted to be close to Him, to be filled with the Holy Spirit. (Incidentally, “Holy Spirit” is the most common New Testament name for the Third Person in the Trinity, but it is not so common in the Old Testament. Its use here is very significant because of David’s awareness of his own unholiness.) That he would want the joy of salvation restored goes without saying, but the next line is very telling. When we are grudging in our obedience to God, such obedience is hard work. When we are fully willing and committed to serving God, such service is a joy rather than a burden. Every part of this Psalm teaches us a great deal about a right relationship with God. It is a beautiful example of how God takes something horrible and turns it around for good. (Romans 8:28)
God has used some of my sins in similar ways, as I have known how to teach and guide others because of what I have gotten myself into. I am never to excuse sin, but I am to remind those who are repentant of what God did in, for, and through David, so that they too will draw close to God to be cleansed and used by Him. The devil tries to tell us that God wants nothing to do with us after we have sinned, so I am to counter that lie with the truth of His grace and forgiveness, using David as an example. We tend to categorize and grade sins in terms of severity, but ignoring God and defying Him is sin whatever form it takes, and so cuts us off from Him. I need to proclaim the Good News that God is always ready to forgive, cleanse and receive, if we will only repent and believe.
Father, it is a heartbreaking mystery why so few people accept Your free offer of salvation in Christ. Help me never give up, but keep proclaiming Your truth so that people may be set free, (John 8:32) for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!