PSALM 51 continued...
"Purify me with hyssop,
and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones Thou hast broken rejoice.
Hide Thy face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Thy presence,
And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of my salvation,
And sustain me with a willing spirit."
Oh, the pieces of worship songs we have sung to these words float about in my soul like life rafts in turbulent waters. "Purify me." Don't we all desire purity? Haven't we all lost it in sin, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Yet, it is not the end of the story: "Wash me." "Create in me a clean heart." "Renew a steadfast spirit." "Restore to me the joy." "Sustain me with a willing spirit." And all because we cry from the deeps of our being, "Do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me."
"I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore, very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more. But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry. From the waters lifted me; now safe am I." (Love Lifted Me.)
Once upon a time we went class-three white water rafting on the freezing cold Deschutes
River near Bend, Oregon. Our guide asked for a volunteer to be her assistant in a vital role in the front of the eight-man raft. We were only as good as the weakest one on board. It appeared after a short while that the one who volunteered was obviously drunk and could imperil us all. She beached the raft and had us reassembled in a more secure fashion with another to paddle from the front of the raft as she guided from the back. It only takes one sin to upset our craft and pitch us into a heavy frothing dangerous current. We all were sprinkled by the cold splashes, and washed by the waves crashing over us, yet we were not "cast away," but kept our places Having conquered the river that had carried pioneers to their new lands on rafts, some to their peril, we experienced great joy with laughter.
"It is founded upon the gospel-grace...the blood of Christ (which is therefore called the blood of the sprinkling, 'Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood.' Hebrews 12:24) that purges the conscience of dead works, from that guilt of sin and dread of God which shut us out of communion with Him...He prays that, his sins being pardoned, he might have the comfort of that pardon. He asks not to be comforted till first he is cleansed; but if sin, the bitter root of sorrow, be taken away, he can pray in faith...The pain of a heart truly broken for sin may well be compared to that of a broken bone; and it is the same Spirit who as a Spirit of bondage smites and wounds and as a Spirit of adoption heals and bind up..." (Matthew Henry)
"'Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.' I know I have sufficiently grieved it to justify its departure for ever; in consequence of which I should be consigned to the blackness of darkness, either to utter despair, or to a hard heart and seared conscience...While the Spirit stays, painfully convincing of sin, righteousness, and judgment, there is hope of salvation; when it departs, then the hope of redemption is gone. But, while there is any godly sorrow, any feeling of regret for having sinned against God, any desire to seek mercy, then the case is not hopeless." (Adam Clarke)
"We are undone if God take His Holy Spirit from us. Saul was a sad instance of this (and an ever-present reminder in David's life). How exceedingly sinful, how exceedingly miserable, was he, when the Spirit of the Lord had departed from him!" David's music was Saul's only hope in regaining sanity. "Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation" "Uphold me with Thy free Spirit," (KJV) keep me from falling into sin or despair, "Sustain me with a willing spirit." (NASV) "My own spirit is not sufficient; if I be left to myself, I shall certainly sink." (quotes other than Scripture, from Matthew Henry)
Keep the bird singing in your heart, the joy of our salvation, like the miners kept canaries in cages. When their song stopped, it was because of poisonous gases, and the miners knew they had to get out quickly before they too would be snuffed out.