Restore to me the joy of your salvation; and uphold me with your free spirit.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with a joyful [willing] spirit.
I. THAT THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF SALVATION IS ACCOMPANIED WITH A GREATER OR LESS DEGREE OF "JOY." Salvation is a deliverance from the greatest danger the soul can apprehend, and is, therefore, a cause of the most rapturous joy the soul can feel. It is preceded, in the majority of cases, by terror of the Divine anger; by the despair awakened by guilt; by the deep sorrow which distraction brings after it; till the revelation of the Divine mercy through Jesus Christ is embraced, and the way of escape is known, and then the soul is unable to restrain its joy. This is the outward aspect of salvation. Salvation as an inward fact is the enjoyment of a new state of the affections towards Christ, or love to God. And this is a perpetual spring of ever-increasing joy. Joy may become not a momentary rapture merely.
II. THAT BY THE INDULGENCE OF SIN WE FORFEIT THE JOY OF SALVATION. We may not utterly forfeit the hope of salvation; for hope is a thing of degrees: how long a faint hope may linger, and in connection with how much sin, is a practical question difficult of determination! The question of our personal salvation may become even to ourselves a very debatable, doubtful question, a struggle of hope against despair. Here certainly the joy of salvation is forfeited. Then, again, though the hope may not be gone, there may be so much remorse and sorrow in consequence of sin as to destroy all the joy which is connected with an assured state of the heart.
III. ON WHAT GROUND CAN WE PRAY GOD TO RESTORE WHAT WE HAVE SINFULLY LOST?
1. That God is the Author of all renewal and salvation in man's soul. This prayer is therefore a prayer for the renewal of the influence and work of the Holy Spirit: "Take not thy Holy Spirit from me." It is called God's salvation for which he prays.
2. This prayer for joy presupposes that which is the condition of all real joy. The previous work of deep, genuine sorrow - repentance and hatred of the sin which has caused the sorrow. This is the unalterable condition on which we obtain any lasting joy.
IV. THAT THE RECOVERY OF THIS JOY IS NECESSARY TO OUR FUTURE CONSTANCY. "Uphold me with a joyful spirit." Doubt, sorrow, remorse, paralyze all the powers of prayer, action, resistance to evil. They are the sickness and disease of the soul. Joy quickens. A joyous, willing mind has strength for the future, because it has conquered in the past; for that is the condition of its joyousness. - S.
Parallel VersesKJV: Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.