God Restores our joy in life.
Read Psalm 51
“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.”
Sin, no matter how insignificant or acceptable to our culture, is always destructive. While we justify sin and sugar coat it, it wreaks havoc within our life as it destroys dreams and distorts our perspective. It harms and destroys relationships. While offering the appeal of happiness, it inevitably leads to hopelessness. At the same time, it promises fulfillment but delivers emptiness and disillusionment.
David was fully aware of the inner emptiness that sin brings. The temptation of pleasure led to his illicit relationship with Bathsheba. When he threatened with exposure, he attempted to conceal his guilt by further deceit and even murder. We find the depth of his inward turmoil in Psalm 32. In a graphic and honest confession of the ravenous effects of sin, he writes, “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me: my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer” (Psalm 32:3-4). Sin never delivers what it promises. It promises joy and happiness but produces only more incredible pain and desolation.
Yet, the most significant effect of sin is not the inner turmoil it creates; it is the fact that it undermines our relationship with God. Sin alienates us from God, and it undermines his purpose for our life (vs. 6). So destructive is sin to our relationship with God that even external religious activities cannot restore a right standing before him (vs. 16).
However, even as we face the throes of our disenchantment with life because of sin, we are not left hopeless. After Nathan the prophet confronted David, David turned to the one place for hope and restoration. He turns to a gracious God who is loving and compassionate, and willing to forgive our guilt. In a remarkable play on words, he ask God, who hides his face from the sinner (verse 11, see also Isaiah 59:2), to now hid his face from his sin (Psalm 51:9). David recognized that only the cleansing forgives of his sin would bring the inward and spiritual restoration he desires. However, this hope was not misguided. It was not just a pipe dream that elusively remained beyond his reach. Despite the severity of his sin, there was still hope of renewal and restoration. Through his confession and repentance, David realized both the forgiveness of God (vs. 10) and the restoration of the joyful relationship he had with God (vs. 12).
If your life seems to be empty of joy and God seems distant, instead of looking at your circumstances, look at your heart. Unconfessed sin robs us of our happiness as it alienates us from God. But through confession and repentance, there is restoration. Not only will God restore the joy of our salvation, but who will put a new spirit within us, one that is hungry to know and obey God’s will. In verse 12, the “willing spirit” refers to who is willing to serve and worship God. When God cleanses us from sin, He not only cleanses us of our sin, but He gives us a desire to serve and worship him.