Psalm 51:11: Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. King David wrote the 51st Psalm after having his sin exposed by the prophet Nathan. He had committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband after she became pregnant with his child. He thought he had gotten away with it until God’s prophet told him to his face in 2 Samuel 12:7-8: Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
David immediately recognized what he had done. Psalm 51 is one of the most beautiful poems of repentance in the Bible, as a man broken before the Lord for his sin begs for forgiveness, crying Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin (Psalm 51:2). However, of all the 19 verses David wrote here, perhaps most notable is verse 11. It wasn’t just a plea for deliverance from one’s iniquities, but a cry that of all things, God would not let His presence depart from David.
And he had good reason to pray this prayer. David had seen just how dire the consequences were of losing the Holy Spirit. At one time, he had served King Saul. Saul was the first chosen king over Israel, and when he first took the throne, he was so humble before the Lord that he hid himself at his own coronation (1 Samuel 10). But after taking the throne, Saul became increasingly disobedient over the years. When David came into the court to serve the king, the spirit of jealousy took over and Saul eventually sought to kill the young man. With each new atrocity Saul committed, Samuel repeatedly warned him that the Lord hath also rejected thee from being king (1 Samuel 15:23). But while God is merciful in giving warning after warning, eventually He has a breaking point.
Jesus warned of the terrible sin of all, an atrocity so terrible that even His blood could not forgive it. Matthew 12:31: Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. Blasphemy of the Holy Ghost is the unforgivable sin, the moment when one has strayed so far that they have destroyed any chance of ever making it to Heaven. If the Holy Spirit is what it takes to convict us to Calvary, we cannot afford to grieve Him so greatly that He will never deal with us again.
After years of disobedience, Saul finally reached this point of no return. But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, (1 Samuel 16:14). At this point, Saul had blasphemed, and we can clearly see how much he changed after this scripture. He became a demonic madman bent on murdering God’s holy child, and the Lord never dealt with him again nor gave him any more chances. It was too late.
Having seen this happen and experiencing the full wrath of a man totally devil-possessed, David was well-aware of the dangers of blaspheming. This is why when his own sin was revealed to his face, he made the mournful cry of “take not thy Holy Spirit from me!” David suddenly realized that he could fall just as Saul had, and that he too could blaspheme. He didn’t just pray that he would be spared God’s wrath, but that most of all, the Spirit wouldn’t leave him forever.
The church today has lost its fear of blasphemy. We have learned to take the presence of God for granted, as if it’s always going to be with us. It isn’t precious to us as it should be, and we don’t cling to it with the desperation David did when he wrote the 51st Psalm. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, (Genesis 6:3).
We come together at church every Sunday morning. We play music, and listen to preaching, and gather at the altars. The Holy Ghost falls, and we lift our hands together as we feel His presence, like a cloud, all around us. It is the very atmosphere of Heaven that has come down into our midst. We speak in tongues. We lay hands on one another. We pray and whisper and shout and sing. The music draws us further into His glory. And then we dismiss in prayer, and go find somewhere to eat.
Exodus 34:30: And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. That same glory that shined from Moses’ face as he stepped down from the presence of God on Mount Sinai is available to all of God’s children as they leave His dwelling place. No doubt the apostles had it after they left the Upper Room. No doubt Paul had it as he and Silas escaped from prison. We can win others to the Lord not even telling them about Jesus, but they will be affected by that anointing that is on our faces as we go forth.
1 John 2:27: But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. We depend on these great anointings God is pouring out on us to give us power to do His work, to teach us revelations of the Word and to preach the gospel. Going to church is like going to a gas station to fill up; we recharge our spiritual batteries and get filled with power from on high so we can take it to the world and do God’s work everywhere we go.
The anointing feels great. It’s wonderful to be in His presence. We can experience that afterglow as we leave church. Driving home, we feel His love and power that makes us yearn to share this gospel with the world. But if we’re not careful, at some point, that anointing will begin to wear off. It may be when we wake up the next morning. Or before we get home from church. Or as soon as we walk out the door.
We cannot afford to be careless with His anointing, because as David observed, we can so easily lose it. It isn’t about a feeling. It isn’t something that God has given us just to make us emotional. It isn’t merely for our own blessing or edification. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (Isaiah 61:1). Nowhere in the Bible does it describe the anointing as bringing self-edification; God gives it to us for a purpose, to win the lost to Him.
Attending church every week is necessary. But it isn’t enough. We can’t totally rely on receiving His anointing once a week; we need a river of the anointing poured into us on a daily basis. This is why we have to pray and read the Word every day. We have to make time for Him constantly and praise God in tongues regularly. 1 Thessalonians 5:17: Pray without ceasing. We cannot afford to let the anointing wear off, but we need to constantly receive that power to withstand the attacks of the enemy, build our spirits, and to serve His glory to others.
The church is becoming increasingly indifferent about His anointing, even while the powers of the devil have grown stronger than ever before. No one is immune from backsliding. A great evangelist who has won millions of souls and healed the sick for all his life can still fall if he is not careful. If King David was aware that he could blaspheme and lose the Spirit of God, everyone should be on guard. If the Spirit would depart from Saul, it would depart from any of us, no matter how spiritual we think we are.
God is using this ultimate anointing to put the finishing touches on His bride, before she is called away. Now is not the time to be playing games with Him, but we must be ready for His coming at all times. Revelation 19:7: Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.