David had seen disobedient and rebellious King Saul lose everything.
Suddenly when faced by Nathan the prophet he is aware of his personal spiritual predicament, and he repents and confesses and prays – “Take not Your Holy Spirit from me”. Psalm 51
David is alert and sensitive to the spiritual danger – and he acts.
When you remain alert and sensitive that is a sign of spiritual life. You know God is with you, and you do not want to lose that presence and that assurance.
To be unresponsive to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit – to become weary of Jesus Christ and the Scriptures – to feel the struggle between good and evil is not worth the battle – to stop caring about God – or find weariness in prayer – these are signs that all is not well – in the individual, or the nation.
As long as I have the Spirit of God, desolate seasons are at least bearable – and you battle on, and see life through, with honour.
If the Spirit should ever go, then gone is all the reinforcement, and David is aware of this. We need light to guide – we need the presence of God to give meaning – we need God’s hand to steady and control when storms rage.
No wonder David prayed – “Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me”.
Matthew 25 verse 28 – In Jesus’ parable there is that alarming sentence – “Take the talent from him” – from the man who would not use the gift.
David knew God – and yet there was that temptation present – that attitude of rebellion – that secret revolt – the sin that could cloud life.
Nathan the prophet came to pierce David, where David needed piercing – “Thou art the man!” (II Samuel Chapters 11 and 12 for background.)
In that startling instant David was aware of his darkness – and he pours out his heart.
Martin Luther in a similar spiritual battle prayed – “Punish us O God – Punish us – but do not be silent!”
“Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me!”
The very fact that David could pray like this proved that the Spirit was still there. It was precisely God’s Spirit within him that made him cry out.
Is this not what Paul is thinking of in Romans 8 verse 26 – “The Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that cannot be uttered”.
David did not just hit rock bottom as he prayed – he touched the Rock of Ages – and arose. When you touch the depths, you discover that underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33 verse 27.
Job – Jonah – Elijah – Jeremiah – had their difficult moments – as did Peter and Paul – for them prayer was no glib facile superficial cry.
The secret is not your tenacity and endurance – but Christ’s constancy and faithfulness.
David did not want to end up like Saul.
Psalm 51 verse 12 – David wanted to teach – so that people would turn back. He wanted delivered from the guilt of that man’s blood – then I can lift my head again and play and sing and praise and worship.
It is interesting what goes when a person is guilty of sin.
Verses 15 – 16 – David knew it needed more than just bringing a big offering.
Sacrifices were always because of sin – and that is one reason why God did not delight in them.
The sacrifices God looks for is – a broken spirit – a broken and contrite heart. That does not mean being all down and appearing so quiet and lowly and artificially humble.
I conclude with the collie dog of the shepherd – to begin with, it had a spirit of its own – but now it has been trained – and in the training it has been broken. Its ego has been crushed. It has been trained to do the will of its master.
“Come – go – fetch – stay” – just a movement of the Master’s hand – and the ears are up. The dog is alert. It does not growl or complain at orders and instructions and commands.
And, having done his work, he comes and sits at the master’s feet and looks up at the master – knowing that he has pleased his master, because he has obeyed the master’s command.
Then, any offerings will be a delight to the Father – because we have pleased the Father by our obedience – surrender – and submission.
“Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me!”
“Lord our God – hear us as we pray for our own nation – those in Government and positions of leadership – those who are baffled as to what to do, and who will not admit it – those whose new financial circumstances cause deep anxiety and real fear. Lord our God – have mercy – use the Church in these days to offer help to those who are struggling, and who feel embattled.
Father – keep our faith strong – enable us to pray for one another even though it is now some months since we met around the Word and bread and wine – this reminds us of those who are imprisoned for their faith in Jesus Christ, and whose ‘lockdown’ involves emotions we know little of – Hear our prayers – in Jesus name.
“Take not Thy Holy Spirit from us!” Amen