Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 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 uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
These passages of scripture are some of the classic Old Testament passages on man’s sin and God’s forgiveness. These passages point us toward the New Testament fulfillment, when Jesus took upon Himself our sins on the Cross of Calvary. David wrote this Psalm shortly after his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah her husband. David is holding on to God’s promises of mercy, loving-kindness and long suffering for those who truly repent and turn their hearts back toward the Lord. David had sinned greatly and he is acknowledging that ultimately all sin at its core is rebellion against God. In Old Testament Israel, God raised up leaders from among His people. They not only led the nation, but they also acted as mediators between the Lord and His people. Some of these mediators included people like Moses, Joshua and David. These leaders had a special anointing of the Holy Spirit in their lives which helped to give them the ability to lead God’s people. Moreover, because of their role as leaders, their sins often affected the nation as a whole, and such was the case with David’s sin with Bathsheba.
And in this case David’s sin with Bathsheba cost the people dearly as well as it ushered disharmony into the united kingdom. In this section of scripture when David asks the Lord not to remove His spirit from him, he is referring to this special anointing of the Holy Spirit. In addition, David is relying on one of the promises and characteristics of God, which includes His long suffering and mercy toward His servants, those who truly love the Lord and have a relationship with Him through faith. The Lord is faithful to forgive those who turn their hearts once again toward Him. We can see this clearly when David asks the Lord to uphold him by His generous Spirit. David’s plea here is a direct reference to the Holy Spirit mentioned in the previous verse of this chapter. What this means for us is no matter how hard we fall, or how much we have rebelled against God, we can always get up again and turn our hearts toward Christ. He is generous to forgive us, and His love for us never fails. If we give our hearts to Jesus, He will once again fill our lives with the joy of His Salvation as we renew our relationship with Him, knowing He alone is our Lord and Savior.