Psalm 51:9-11 - Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me.
With Pentecost now just recently past, it seems a good time to reflect on that day in Jerusalem when Christ sent the Holy Spirit, the work of redemption having been gloriously accomplished by His death and resurrection.
As with the psalmist David, so must it ever be that we Christians penitently cry for the forgiveness of our sins, begging that guilt and punishment be removed. But we have another request, too: another most urgent need and requirement. We need the Holy Spirit. The sin of our own life and of countless generations past has done more than heap upon us guilt and punishment; it has ruined our will power; it has perverted our understanding; it has spoiled our character.
Our entire body, mind, and spirit—our heart and all its promptings—has through the power of sin become wayward, unstable, uncertain, fickle, undependable. Sin has mastered and enslaved us for so long that we cannot shake off its power and control. Though we form the best of intentions, though our resolutions be ever so solemn, we still find ourselves the prey of the evil that is all around us.
Our wayward heart drives us on from folly to folly, threatening to entangle us ever more hopelessly in an interminable mesh of wrongdoing. This sinful condition clouds our understanding of God's Word. It makes us doubt God's favor and, sadly, the unbelief of the world around us finds a ready echo in our hearts.
But Jesus is a Healer from sin and shame. He does not shrink back from our condition. He heals us all the way through. He restores us to health and vigor. He regenerates the heart and renews it. He not only forgives our sins, but He also gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit. Thus David also prayed for forgiveness and a new heart in his great penitential psalm.
"Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God!" Heavenly Father, wash me in the blood of Your Son, Jesus. Heal my life of sin's deadly diseases, and make my heart beat with clean and holy desires for You.
"And renew a right spirit within me." Make it firm, steadfast on Your Word, and empowered to follow You. Make me unshakably sure of Your grace, and let me clearly see the truth so that I may abide by it, staunch and unflinching against any and every wrong.
"Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me." Without Your Spirit I would be the hopeless prey of my own flesh, of the world, and of the cunning deceits of Satan. With Your Spirit I can overcome all things.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, fill us with the love, joy, and light of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman by a contributing writer
1. Do you ever feel like you're working at far less than your true potential?
2. Why would David feel dirty before God? What did he do?
3. Is your heart clean before God? How is this so?
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