Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
King David wrote this familiar hymn (which we sing in our worship services) when he realized the depth of his sin. David had an affair with Bathsheba, lied about his deeds, and killed Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah. We sing this hymn because we recognize that David isn’t exactly the only one who has sinned and made his heart unclean.
We also have unclean hearts that are unacceptable to God. We have inherited sin from our first parents, Adam and Eve. This inherited (original) sin makes itself known in our sinful words and actions. Your sinful heart cannot remain in God’s presence. God cannot stand sin. You deserve to be cast away from God’s presence eternally.
And yet, God does not cast you away. Instead, God casts away his Son, Jesus. Jesus cried from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus was cast off and forsaken by God because Jesus took upon himself all your sin…and its consequences.
Through Jesus, you are cleansed and made new. As you have been given faith, you are now re-created in the image of Jesus Christ. God has listened to David’s prayer (and your prayer). Through Jesus, you have the forgiveness of your sins. God has created a new, clean heart within you. God has given you his Holy Spirit, who dwells within you. God strengthens and upholds you because of the death and Resurrection of Jesus.
O God, you justify the ungodly and desire not the death of the sinner. Graciously assist me by your heavenly aid and evermore shield me with your protection, that no temptation may separate me from your love, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.