12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (NIV)
After moral failure, how do I restore my joy?
This psalm reminds us how David fails miserably committing adultery first, then murder to hide the adultery. At first, he justifies what he has done and turns a blind eye to his own behavior. But once the Spirit convicts him, he is devastated and disappointed at his moral failure. He goes into a dark place and prays for the Lord to restore his joy.
David, in recognition of what he has done, goes to the Lord bewildered. How could a man who has been so faithful to God fall so far so fast? And He asks the Lord to teach him the truth about himself. He wants to understand why he allowed himself to do these things so easily.
This is a question we all wrestle with. How is it that we are moved so far from the convictions of our heart to do that which is unacceptable to us?
David lays out the process the Lord will take us through to regain our joy after a dark moment of failure. He asks for truth recognizing there have been forces at work against him since before he was born. The iniquity passed down to him through people’s behavior and life circumstances had an effect on him. The truth is that we are affected by our environment. And we must learn from the Spirit how these things have caused us to believe or at least accept falsehoods.
In David’s mind, he knew what he did was wrong. But what he felt in the moment was different from what he knew. He felt lonely. He craved pleasure as an escape from the pain of life. And he partook of the forbidden fruit. Then fear took over as murder entered his heart and mind.
For joy to be restored, we must allow the Spirit to teach us how the people in our lives and the circumstances we have faced have created ideas and assumptions about ourselves and our life that do not align with the truth of God. Then, we must re-align our thinking to the Truth of the Word. This is a painful process but it will lead us back to the joy of our salvation.
Prayer: Lord, teach me the truth of my own misaligned thoughts and assumptions about myself, others, and life so that I might realign these to the Truth of God, then my joy will be restored. Amen.