Psalm 51 – The Sinner’s Psalm DAY 20

Scripture Reading: “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation…” (Psalm 51:12)

As we noticed in our previous devotion, David had lost the “joy” of his salvation, not his salvation. Granted, losing the joy of one’s salvation is emotionally equivalent to losing all sense of it. It is like grieving over the erroneous report of a loved one’s demise. Although you’ve not really lost your loved one, your grief is no less pronounced. So it is with those who loose the joy of their salvation.

The Chaldeans called upon their Jewish captives to sing to them the songs of Zion by the rivers of Babylon (Psalm 137:1-4). However, the exiled Hebrews hung their harps upon the willows of Babylon and explained to their captors that Zion’s songs could not be sung in the captivity of a foreign land. Likewise, Christians cannot sing songs of joy and make melody in their hearts to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19) when we are out of tune with God and our hearts estranged from Him over our being taken captive by this fallen world. Sin does, as it always has, silence the music in the melodious hearts of the people of God.

Why should the Christian give up his song for the momentary pleasure and subsequent lamentation of sin? Such an exchange is not only inexcusable, but inexplicable as well. To forfeit “the joy of the Lord,” which “is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10), for the jocularity and frivolity of sin is to be most egregiously shortchanged spiritually. Still, like David of old, many a modern-day saint is unhesitant to strike such a deal with the devil at the expensive of the joy of their salvation.

Sin is the sole joy robber in the life of a Christian. Nothing else can steal our joy, since it is based on Christ, not circumstances. Whereas circumstances change, causing our happiness to ebb and flow, Christ never changes. Therefore, our joy is constant and we can rejoice all the time, regardless of our circumstances, just as we are admonished to do by the Scripture (Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16).

The one thing that can rob us of our joy is sin, since it estranges us from Christ, who is the source of our joy. When it does, we must fall to our knees and cry out like David, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation.” Since it is God’s (“thy”) salvation, only God can restore to us the joy of it, which can only be stolen from us by our sin.

“There’s only one thing that can take the joy out of your life: it is sin, and only one kind of sin. You want to know what kind? Yours. That’s the only kind of sin, not somebody else’s sin, but your sin.” (Dr. Adrian Rogers)