There are countless believers today that are struggling in their spiritual walk with the Lord. Although they may have reached the point where they cannot move any further and thus, go from bad to worse, their situation is not completely irreversible. When King David found himself in this condition, he cried out to the Lord and said, “Have mercy on me, O God…Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me” (Psalm 51:1-12). Indeed, the sin of adultery he committed against Bathsheba, compounded by having Bathsheba’s husband murdered in battle, caused him to drift away from the Lord. The guilt that seized him was too much for him to bear. Realizing that there was no other way to get out of his predicament, he earnestly sought the Lord and asked for restoration.
The spiritual condition of King David, when he was in that state of being disconnected from the Lord, was appropriately described by the Psalmist when he penned, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirst for God……These things I remember as I pour out my soul; how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng” (Psalm 42:1-4). Having been separated from the Lord because of his sins, all that was left with him were memories of the good old days. He remembered the times when he was faithfully serving the Lord. There was so much joy and festivities then. He experienced the fullness of God’s blessings and all was well until sin came along to spoil it. Nevertheless, he did not lose hope, but took the path that led him back to the Lord and was restored.
As believers, we have an enemy, the devil, who does not come but to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10a). He comes to devastate and, if possible, to kill. He employs schemes that seem harmless in the beginning but destructive in the end. To protect ourselves, we need to come under the protective wing of the Lord. Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son best illustrates this truth. The son had planned out his own life and demanded his portion of his inheritance. The moment he left the protective wing of his father, the devil started to do his work. The devil stole everything that the son got as his inheritance and his life was never the same. The devil did not relent in his attempt to destroy him, and forced him to sell himself as a slave to feed swine. It was at the point that he was starving and death was at the door when he remembered the blessings of his father’s house. He said, “How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!” This remembrance of the good old days gave him the desire to be restored back to his father house. He said, “I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you” (Luke 15:17-18). Having taken this bold step of repenting, he was restored back to his father.
The process of restoration requires that we come to our senses and repent of our sins. Without repentance there is no restoration. Both King David and the Prodigal Son repented and took the step to be reconciled with God. In his desire to be restored, King David cried out, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:10-11). He realized that it was only when his heart was purged of evil and his spirit strengthened that he could again serve the Lord with all his heart and with all his might. Indeed, no amount of effort on our part is enough to be restored to God – not until we get to the core of the problem, sin. He also realized that only when the Holy Spirit remained in him would he be able to avoid the dangerous and slippery slope of sin. As far as the prodigal son is concerned, he did not only repent of his sin but swallowed his pride. If only to escape death and be restored to his father’s house, he was willing to be counted as one of the slaves of his father. He realized that there was no better place than home.
While the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10b). Indeed, the Lord Jesus Christ is the restorer of all things. When he restores, he restores completely. Friends, Jesus is able to give back the joy of our salvation. If we no longer have the joy and willingness to serve the Lord, we have fallen victim to the devil. Just like King David, let us cry out for God’s mercy that he may forgive us our sins and restore us. It is only then that we will once again experience the joy of salvation. Hallelujah!