Restore to me the joy of your salvation; and uphold me with your free spirit.
I. DAVID'S RESTORATION BEGINS IN THE RECOLLECTION OF A BY-GONE BLESSEDNESS. There is a looking back to something lost and departed. He sorrows over a vanished happiness.
II. THE RESTORATION DAVID DESIRES IS WHOLLY RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL. His prayer is free from any admixture of selfish and worldly feeling. David does not cry, as Saul cried to Samuel, "Honour me now, I pray thee, before the people," but, "Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation." David, after his great sin, sin that had done its worst, asks for joy. Was this possible? Persons convicted of some great wrong, that brought shame and misery on others as well as on themselves, have been heard to say, humbly and penitently, "I believe God has forgiven me. I am not afraid of the future, but I can never be happy again." "A true penitent never forgives himself." It seems reasonable that David, after such crimes, should have rejected the idea of joy. Yet God gave him joy; the joy of not having become wholly vile and reprobate, the joy of not having been cut off with his guilt red upon him, the joy of God's forgiveness and salvation. Our refusal to admit the possibility of joy after our great sin and fall is a sort of solace to our wounded pride, a selfinflicted penance, a reparation, we think, for the wrong.
III. THE RESTORATION DAVID SEEKS IS TO BE A PERMANENT ONE; PERMANENT THROUGH THE ABIDING POWER OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD. Men sometimes speak as though sin were to be the remedy for sin. Satan is to cast out Satan. They have fallen once, but are never to fall again. Past sin is to prevent sin in the future. "It shall never occur again. It's a lesson to me for life." The serpent's fangs once deeply felt will, it is thought, scare the man away in future. David, so far from feeling that his sin would work its own cure, is more fearful of himself and of future falls, and cries, "Uphold me," etc. The power David implores is inward power. He asks for a Spirit, deep as his own spirit, that shall act with healing, strengthening power at the core and centre of his life. "Thy free Spirit." He must know the joy of God's salvation; he must be able freely to renounce the evil, and to choose the good. "Thy free Spirit," who shall burst all the shackles of the soul, so that the man may "walk at liberty and have respect unto all Thy commandments."
(A. Warrack, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.