Today's Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.”
Psalm 51: 11
King James Version
“Why God Loved David” Part XVI
“If the pleasures of love can attract a man to a woman, if hunger and loneliness can make a man travel miles in search of food and shelter, how much more will the desire for truth and holiness make a man (or woman) seek God.”
Augustine of Hippo
Have I ever felt that because of something I had done wrong I had been “cast away” from my heavenly Father?
“Whoever walks toward God one cubit, God runs toward him twain.”
“You called, You cried, You shattered my deafness, You sparkled, You blazed, You drove away my blindness, You shed Your fragrance, and I drew in my breath, and I pant for You.”
Augustine of Hippo
As we look at David’s heartfelt plea to his Father, “Cast me not away from Thy presence,” I am reminded of the words of James Denney who observed, “The kingdom of heaven is not for the well-meaning but for the desperate.” I don’t know about you, but this fact certainly includes me. And I find this to be just another reason why God loved David so much.
As we find, David not only admitted he was wrong, he told God he was such a despicable person and his sins were so dirty and ugly that he didn’t want God to even look at him.
With his filthiness all he could see in the mirror when he looked at himself, an emotion came into David’s heart that we find duplicates the terribly tragic emotional response from Adam and Eve. In the Garden of Eden, when they fled from God’s sight and from the sound of His gentle voice they instead chose, as Adam told God, to hide when, “I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked” (Genesis 3: 10, K.J.V.).
It would be wise for us to think about this response from Adam, “I was afraid because I was naked.” It is totally absurd to think Adam would fear his Creator, the One who had formed him in the first place. God had obviously seen Adam “naked” before, so this is truly an odd response. It would be almost comical, if it weren’t so tragic! No, Adam wasn’t afraid because God saw him naked. It was because God saw him as he was – disobedient. The covering of heaven’s light no longer surrounded Adam and Eve. And in their sinful state, the selves they now were, were open for God to see. In this sense, they were naked and the nakedness of their sinfulness was clearly observed by an all-seeing God. It is when we scratch below the surface of Adam’s immediate response, that we find the same emotion engulfing him as hit King David – and it is this. They were all afraid because their sins had separated them from their Father.
This is what is at the heart of sin – separation from God, for sin cannot survive in the holy presence of our Father. As Adam and Eve and David recognized, without a Father’s critical and needful intervention, they were all afraid they had crossed the line so far, their cases were hopeless. To paraphrase David’s words, “Please don’t toss me aside. Don’t take away Your Spirit from me,” or as The Message Bible says: “Don’t throw me out with the trash, or fail to breathe holiness in me.” (Ps. 51: 11)
Isn’t this the kind of gracious, mercy we all hope and pray our heavenly Father will extend to us when we walk off His path and lose our way? I know it is how I want my Father to treat me. None of us want to be “thrown away,” by our Father. I’m thankful here in Psalm 51 we get a clear glimpse into how our “Dad” responds to us when we mess up.
One of my favorite, old-time preachers, whom I’ve quoted many times before, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, perfectly puts into words the lengths our Father in heaven goes to draw us to Him and to bring assurance to us when we falter: “When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. The thought struck me, ‘How did you come to be a Christian?’ I sought the Lord. ‘But how did you come to seek the Lord?’ The truth flashed across my mind in a moment – I could not have sought Him unless there had come some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him.”
It is this “seeking” gift from our Father that propels us to come to Him, even when we have wandered away. How grateful I am that David, at his lowest point, was able to understand his Father didn’t let go of him or cast him away. Nor did his Father’s Spirit leave him lost and forgotten. As long as the desperate David wanted his Dad, His Father was right by his side, drawing him back with cords of love.
“We taste Thee, O Thou Living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still:
We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.”
Each day as I write the devotionals, I go to my tiny closet, where I have all the supplies which are necessary. Two of the walls are covered with shelves that hold hundreds of books I’ve read and use as reference materials. There are two small tables – one holds ten different translations of the Bible and the other table contains dictionaries and other writing reference books. There’s also my old white wicker chair where I sit and write, for all the devotionals are handwritten by me before they are entered into the computer. And finally, I have a small table that holds a CD player and my collection of CD’s of Instrumental Hymns that I always have on as soft, uplifting, background music when I am writing. As I was working on today’s devotional, I popped the top CD on the stack into the player and what should greet me on my Hymnscapes “Devotion” CD but a gorgeous arrangement of the old hymn, “Close To Thee.” As I read our text for today, I thought how much King David, an individual whom we know played the harp and composed melodious music, would have loved this touching song, for his words in Psalm 51: 11 are his pleading call to his Father, “Do not cast me away.” David’s longing was for God to draw him closer than ever before, where he would find comfort and joy within his heavenly Father’s love.
Close To Thee
“Thou my everlasting portion,
more than food or life to me,
all along my pilgrim journey,
Savior, let me walk with Thee.
Close to Thee, close to Thee,
close to Thee, close to Thee,
all along my pilgrim journey,
Savior, let me walk with Thee.
Not for ease or worldly pleasure,
nor for fame my prayer shall be;
gladly will I toil and suffer,
only let me walk with Thee.
Lead me through the vale of shadows,
bear me o’er life’s fitful sea;
then the gate of life eternal
may I enter, Lord, with Thee.”
Fanny J. Crosby
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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