The Hope of Restoration
Psa. 51:10 ¶ Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Psa. 51:11 Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Psa. 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.
David had committed a horrible sin in regard to Bathsheba and her husband Uriah. Not only had he slept with someone else’s wife, but he had been cunning and conniving in playing with Uriah’s life. What he had done was terrible and when the prophet Nathan visited with him and called out his sin David became a broken man. Suddenly the depths of his sin became apparent and he realized the great chasm that had been created in his personal relationship with the LORD.
Here was a man who had been intimately related to God and had yet, the more successful he had become, probably the less dependent he became on God. All of a sudden he found himself staying home when he should have been out with his troops and he fell to temptation. Not only did he fall to the temptation but he spent a great deal of time trying to justify and cover up his behavior.
Now, in contrition he pours out his heart to God. It’s not good enough for his heart to simply be cleaned up or fixed, he needs to be restored. He needs a new heart — a clean heart to be created in him. The old must be gone and the new must be transplanted. With the new heart comes a cleansing and infilling of the Spirit that sets things aright again. The new and right Spirit of the LORD sanctifies his entire being.
David is desperate for the restoration of his relationship with the LORD. While he has sinned, he now pleads for the grace of God to reach out to him. He wants to be in the presence of the LORD.
Through these sinful acts David had lost his salvation and the realization of this loss is almost more than he can bear. The salvation and confidence which he used to know in the LORD is now gone and his pray is for that restoration. He wants to experience and know again the joy of the Lord’s salvation. It is that quiet confidence of salvation for which he hungers and the joy that fills one’s life when walking with the LORD. Not only does he pray for this restoration, but he prays for a sustaining spirit that will take him through the remainder of his days.
The hope of restoration is his heart’s prayer and he believes that a clean heart, an infilling of the Spirit, and the presence of grace will result in a deep and satisfying joy brought into his life because of the deep love which may be experienced in God.
Oh, how we hate that word.
Yet, there are moments in our lives where we discover that we have been a failure. A relationship has deteriorated. We have not kept our eyes on the LORD. We have deviated from normal activity and allowed ourselves to be tempted. Not only have we been tempted but we have acted on that temptation and suddenly found ourselves far from God.
Asking for forgiveness and restoration is not an easy thing. Especially for those who have been raised in the holiness tradition. Sure, we cling to the fact that we don’t believe in “once saved, always saved,” but do we possibly cling to “once sanctified, always sanctified?” In other words, have we make it such a point that once someone is entirely sanctified that they will no longer sin that we make it nearly impossible to confess when we are struggling or have done something wrong? Instead of the hope of restoration we’ve been left with a sense of hopeless coverup. The joy disappears because we have succumbed to temptation. Sadly, to confess that we had any kind of an issue would mean to confess that we were not living the perfect life.
We plod through life without the joy of salvation and our relationship with God deteriorates.
Now, that’s a word we love to hear and success in our relationship with the LORD is possible when we turn to him with honest and contrite hearts. David realized that he had lost what he had once had. He couldn’t just be cleaned up, but he needed a new heart. He needed complete and total restoration in his walk with God.
Not only was restoration possible, but the sustaining grace of the Spirit’s presence was also possible. The resultant joy of the Lord is a daily reminder of the peaceful presence of the LORD in a life that may have taken a detour.
David had to come humbly before the LORD. We must honestly face our failures and bring them before the LORD. There is always hope. There is always grace. There is always joy. For there is restoration.
Lord, thank you constantly calling us back to you. Amen.