For the past two months I have found myself periodically humming parts of an old hymn composed using some of the words of David found in Psalm 51. Approaching God with a repentant heart the song lyrics implore God: "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love, according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions; Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love, wash away my iniquities, cleanse me from my sins; I will be whiter than snow, I will be whiter than snow, by the blood I am whiter than snow - I will be whiter than snow. As you read the entire psalm, especially verses 10-12, you can almost hear David's heart cry and appeal for God to cleanse him and restore his joy: "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 sustain me with a willing spirit."
I have not thought of this song in years, but as I hummed and sang out verse twelve, my heart connected to David's cry. "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation....and renew a right spirit within me." It was as if my spirit was prayerfully crying out to God for a deep restoration of joy. This past seven year season has been challenging for so many. Information overload regarding government and financial systems, education, security and health structures, family and spiritual relationships have left some battle weary and disillusioned. In the conflict we have learned the importance of keeping our eyes on Jesus, thanking him and staying focused on what he is doing.
I love the psalms, maybe because they relate to various seasons in my own life. We can all identify with David's plea and transparency found in this beautiful song, as he recognized and expressed his failure, insufficiency and weakness. He approached God in humility, asking for mercy and repenting for his personal transgressions. He appealed to God for the restoration of joy in his life. From these verses it is evident that David took time with God to assess his natural and spiritual condition, leading to the confession of his sin and lack, and ultimately recognizing the joy of his youth had left him.
Maybe you have recently taken an assessment of your personal condition and recognized that the joy you once knew with God has eroded in the mixture of life. If so, would you consider praying with me? "Father, have mercy on me, according to your loving kindness and great compassion. Thank you for washing me clean of any iniquity and cleansing me of my sin. Create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Please do not cast me away from your presence or remove Holy Spirit from me, and restore to me Father, the joy of your salvation as you sustain me with a willing spirit."
As we are being prepared in this jubilee year to walk into the new season beginning at Rosh Hashanah, Holy Spirit whispered something very sweet this week. "You are entering a time of restoration. I am going to restore to you the joy and wonder of knowing Me. Be anticipating My goodness once again. Discard the old negative structures that were built in this past season and step into the new. Take a step into this new season. It's here for you!"