What Does Psalm 51:11 Mean?

Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Psalm 51:11(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

The psalms, prayers, and praises of David have been a source of comfort and encouragement to multitudes down the corridors of history. This psalm, where David cries out to God for forgiveness of his sins, has demonstrated the importance and wisdom of confessing our sins - particularly our post-salvation sins - for in so doing we are immediately returned into a right relationship with the Father: "For IF we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Every sin removes the believer from fellowship with God, but telling Him our transgressions through our only Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ (which is the right and privilege of all believers in Christ Jesus), returns us immediately into sweet fellowship with the Father.

But as believers in this Church age, although our sin removes us from fellowship with God, we still have the Holy Spirit indwelling us. Therefore, even though this psalm, like other psalms, prayers, and praises of David is an ever-present source of comfort and encouragement to all believers, and rightly so, this verse is a prayer that the Christian can never pray, for in so doing it demonstrates a lack of understanding of the permanent, indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of ALL believers - following Christ’s finished work on Calvary's Cross.

This prayer of David was a prayer that he needed to pray, for prior to the Cross the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit was only for certain people in Israel at certain times. Kings, prophets, and selected individuals would be indwelled by the Spirit for a specific ministry - and He would leave when their task was completed or if that believer sinned (as was typified in the life of king Saul). Knowing that the Holy Spirit could leave him, caused David to cry out with the heartfelt plea: "Do not take Your Holy Spirit from me."

But this is very different from the permanently indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of ALL believers, ever since He was sent, by Christ, at Pentecost. Christ comforts His disciples with these words: "The Helper is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him or know Him; but you know Him because He remains with you and WILL BE IN YOU."

The psalms, prayers, and praises of David are a wonderful source of comfort and encouragement, but we must never confuse the way God dealt with His chosen people Israel PRE-Cross, and His chosen people the Church POST-Cross. The Church has not replaced Israel but, for the time-being, God is working through His Body, the Church, and one of the many blessings that have been given to ALL believers, is the permanent, indwelling Holy Spirit for all time and into eternity.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You that I have the permanent, indwelling Holy Spirit to lead and guide me. I don't want to grieve or quench the Spirit through unbelief or pride of life. May my life be led by the Spirit, by the power of the Spirit, to Your praise and glory. In Jesus' name, AMEN.

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Psalm 51:11 Further Study

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