Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right and steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit. – Psalm 51:10-12
David knew he had by his sin grieved the Holy Spirit, and provoked him to withdraw. This he dreads more than anything. He prays that Divine comforts may be restored to him. When we give ourselves cause to doubt our interest in salvation, how can we expect the joy of it? This had made him weak; he prays, I am ready to fall, either into sin or into despair, therefore uphold me with thy Spirit. Thy Spirit is a free Spirit, a free Agent himself, working freely. And the more cheerful we are in our duty, the more constant we shall be to it. What is this but the liberty wherewith Christ makes his people free, which is contrasted with the yoke of bondage? It is the Spirit of adoption spoken to the heart. Those to whom God is the God of salvation, he will deliver from guilt; for the salvation he is the God of, is salvation from sin. Matthew Henry
Take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Withdraw not His comforts, counsels, assistances, quickenings, else I am indeed as a dead man. Do not leave me as thou didst Saul, when neither by Urim, nor by prophet, nor by dream, thou wouldst answer him. Thy Spirit is my wisdom, leave me not to my folly; He is my strength, O desert me not to my own weakness. Drive me not away from thee, neither do thou go away from me. Keep up the union between us, which is my only hope of salvation. It will be a great wonder if so pure a spirit deigns to stay in so base a heart as mine; but then, Lord, it is all wonder together, therefore do this, for thy mercy’s sake, I earnestly entreat Thee.
When a person has an unclean heart, they rightly fear losing the Holy Spirit.
Come, let us consider; many of us have been saved by divine grace, and barely saved, but we have been made to walk in the light of God’s countenance; we have been somewhat like Daniel, men greatly beloved and highly favored. Now, have we acted in conformity with such distinguishing mercy? Have we manifested a holy jealousy such as divine love ought to produce in us? Must not some here confess that their love has by degrees grown cold, or at least lukewarm? Must not many of us acknowledge that we have been very carnal, so as to have been overjoyed with worldly prosperity, or overly dampened with worldly adversity? Must we not acknowledge many of us, that we have been slothful in the Master’s service? Are there not some among you who for the last few months have done little or nothing for the church and truth of Christ? You were once diligent in your Master’s business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; but that has gone—your former zeal and fidelity have departed from you; unstable as water, you do not now excel; with this there has crept over some hearts a listlessness in prayer, a lack of enjoyment in reading the word, a deadness towards spiritual things, a carelessness of walk, and a carnal security of spirit. Dr. Watts’ verse might suit some of you sadly well—
“In vain we tune our formal songs, In vain we strive to rise. Hosannas languish on our tongues, And our devotion dies.”
Now, in such cases, my brothers and sisters, if you are conscious of an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; if you are obliged to confess that the former days were better than now, and to admit that the consolations of the Lord are small with you—I do, in deep and anxious sympathy with your condition, exhort you to use from your heart the language of the psalmist, “Cast me not away from Your presence; and take not Your Holy Spirit from me.” – Spurgeon