“Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” Psalm 51:11
Different cultures have different forms of poetry. Our western poetry forms seem to be primarily characterized by the rhythm, meter and rhyme of the words. By comparison, biblical Hebrew poetry doesn’t rely as strongly on meter and rhyme, though rhythm may be important. Instead poetry in the Bible is often characterized by repetition of the points being presented. A good example of this is our focus text taken from Psalm 51,
“Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.”
In this couplet we hear King David repeating his request that God not remove His personal presence from his life.
From childhood, David had learned to rely on God’s presence in his life. At times God may have been his only companion for days as he tended his father’s sheep. On other occasions it was the presence of God that fortified him to defend his flock from the attacks of the lion and the bear. So much had David learned to rely on God’s personal presence, that when preparing to face the champion Goliath on the field of battle, he chose to refuse the armor and weapons offered by the king, instead relying upon the personal protection of God.
How much do we rely on God’s personal presence. David depended on it. Hear him plead, “Do not take your Holy Spirit from me.” But far to often our expectation of the Spirit’s presence morphs into taking it for granted. Respect for and submission to him and his influences are absent in our relationship with him. We just keep doing our own thing comforted that he is there. But the Holy Spirit isn’t a security blanket. He’s in our lives to change us, shape us, and transform us and we need to be actively cooperating with him if he is to accomplish his purpose in our lives.
We need the Holy Spirit far more profoundly than we realize. David is begging for his presence because he has been reminded of this truth by his own criminal choices. Friends, it’s far better to learn from the mistakes of others than it is to repeat them. So before we’re standing over another mountain of regret let’s learn to truly rely, moment by moment, and day by day on the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. And morning by morning remind ourselves of our dependence by repeating David’s prayer. “Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.”