Restoring the Joy of Your Salvation: A Psalm 51:11-13 Devotional
“Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways and sinners will be converted to You.”
David spent the first ten verses of this Psalm recognizing and repenting of his sins, declaring his unworthiness to be in God’s presence, and then petitioning God to re-create His heart - to transform it - so he would be made in the image of God again. He realized his sins were rebellion against God and recognized this turning away from God marred his God-given heart so it was no more like God’s heart. David wanted a God-renewed right spirit so he could and would stand strong and steadfast in God’s ways.
With verses eleven through thirteen, David recognized God’s holiness did not permit sin to be in His presence. He realized God cast away from Himself sinful people. We read of God’s compassion and graciousness in 2 Kings 13:23 where He did not destroy or banish the people from His presence. He gave them another chance. In 2 Kings 24:20, a second, even a third and fourth chance, did not lead the Israelites to return to God. His anger over the people’s sin caused Him to cast them from His presence. This means they could no longer face God, see His face, or stand near Him. This banishment is what David pled against from God. He pled for God’s mercy on His sins and rebellion. David wanted to be in fellowship with the Lord again. He realized his sins tainted his heart and removed his spirit from a relationship with God. David wanted to be in the presence of God. He did not want God to remove His Holy Spirit from himself like God did to Saul. David remembered well the torment King Saul experienced when God removed His Spirit from Saul and evil spirits then indwelled him. He had been the lute player to calm Saul’s spirit. How often do we dismiss sin as just a little thing that God will forgive? David realized no small sin existed because all sin is turning away from God. He wanted to be in God’s presence and have a relationship with Him so he repented and then pleaded for God to create in him a new heart, renew his spirit, allow him to stay in His presence – to have mercy upon him – and to allow His Spirit to remain in Him.
Beyond this, David asked for his joy of salvation from God to be restored. He understood joy comes from a relationship with God. David lived at times trying to please himself, but realized he was never happy for long. Happiness due to circumstances is fleeting, but an intimate relationship with God brings joy. A person can have this everlasting joy because he or she knows God provides salvation for those who believe and trust in Him. Joy is not fleeting. David recognized his attempts at happiness did not fulfill his desire. Only God and His salvation provided full joy that filled him completely. Are there times when you think, if I could just have a car like that, then I would want nothing more; that will make me happy? Tangible things may make you happy for a time, but happiness is fleeting. Joy from the Lord is eternal and does not rely upon tangible things, things that rust, corrode, crumble, or fade away.
Besides joy of God’s salvation, David asked God to “sustain me with a willing spirit.” Sustaining anything requires a person to lean upon someone to uphold them. With this request, David asked God to be His support and strength, Him upon whom he lived and found his purpose. He wanted to live honorably as God’s child. David asked God to be his strength and support so he would continue to willingly and honorably live in His ways. David realized he needed God’s strength and undergirding to stay faithful to Him. He understood God could give him the power through His Spirit to continue to choose God’s ways and not his own. Do we sometimes forget or choose not to pray before going to work, school, ministry projects, vacation, or any other task or place we have on our agenda? How is your level of strength not to sin and to walk the way God wants you to walk – righteously – when you do not pray before beginning? We face choices each day to walk and follow God’s ways or follow the ways we consider wise. We should pray before endeavoring anything that we will walk with the strength and in the wisdom of God so we do not sin and He is glorified. Beginning without prayer can lead you away from God and Satan will take hold of part of your life. Beware! David understood this, though we each know he kept relearning certain lessons just as we each do during our lives.
With verse thirteen, David changed his prayer. He realized his faith in God required the heart and obedience. In Deuteronomy, Exodus, and Leviticus, God told the Israelites to teach their children and the foreigners who lived among them about Him and train them to follow Him and His ways. David understood he must show his love for God by his obedience to Him and His commands. He pledged to God in his prayer he would teach transgressors His ways. He meant he would train people to know God and His laws so they could recognize Him for themselves and have a relationship with Him. David understood every person on earth sinned against God and walked away from His ways. He wanted to show God his love and so told Him he would teach people about God and how He wanted them to live, not in sin and rebellion. Have you ever before read the Bible or heard in a sermon something new you had never encountered? When you found out you were doing or had done something contrary to God’s ways, did you seek His forgiveness and promise to walk in His strength, which enables you not to do that thing again? David wanted to make sure people knew God and His laws so they would not sin against Him and be cast out of His presence. He did not want them to be separated from God by sin and so pledged to teach transgressors God’s ways.
The final part of verse thirteen says, “Sinners will be converted to You.” David wanted people, transgressors, to hear about and understand God’s laws and God Himself so they would want to have a saving relationship with Him. By this they could have an intimate relationship with God by turning back to Him from their own ways. David experienced firsthand what life was like in the presence of God being sin-free. He understood how hard life was when he sought to satisfy himself and by it removed himself from an intimate relationship with God. David wanted transgressors to understand about God and His commands so they would realize His love for them, turn to Him for their salvation, and receive joyful intimacy.
What today are you trying to hide from God? Why do you hide it? It keeps you from a relationship with God and He already knows about it. He is waiting for you to give it up, confess it to Him, and accept His forgiveness.
God wants to love you every day and be in a close, intimate relationship with you.
What is keeping you from the joy of salvation?
Give it to God and let Him mold in you with a willing spirit.