Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
I Need the Holy Spirit
“I trust him about as far as I can throw him. If I don’t keep my eye on him every second, there’s no telling what he will try to pull. I have to be vigilant 24-7. I simply can’t trust him a bit.”
King David didn’t write those words. But maybe he could have. David was recovering from a serious spiritual crisis. He had sinned against the Lord. He had taken another man’s wife for his own. He had murdered that other man through conspiracy and misuse of power. He had deceived a nation—God’s people. He had denied his sins.
But David was forgiven. The Lord took away his sin. The Lord had cleansed him and made him clean. The Lord had washed away all his iniquity and cleansed him of sin. (Read Psalm 51.) Now David was moving forward in repentant faith. He knew he was forgiven and a child of God. He knew God would not hold his sin against him. But David also knew that his only hope of remaining a child of God was the work of the Holy Spirit.
So he prayed: “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.” As if to say, “Lord, I was born with a sinful nature. I trust that I have your forgiveness for that sinful nature and all that it does. But I don’t trust my sinful nature even as far as I can throw it. I need your help to keep that sinful nature from getting the best of me and taking me down. Be merciful to me and do not drive me away. Keep me close to you. If you should ever take your Holy Spirit from me, I’m a goner. So send the Holy Spirit to me again and again through your loving promises, that I may live and enjoy your love forever.”
We can pray the same thing. We have a sinful nature that we can’t trust. We have forgiveness through Christ, who died and rose again. We have received the gift of the Holy Spirit through Word and sacrament. We have the ongoing need and the gospel-born confidence to pray: “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”
Dear Lord, be merciful to me. As you have so richly forgiven me, so continue to send me your Holy Spirit, that I may not fall from faith, but remain your child forever. Amen.
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