Baptismal meditation

Psalm 51:11, 17: Take not Your Spirit from me . . . . A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

David commits adultery and murder and abuses his power as king. He knows that when Saul refused to repent, the grieved Spirit abandoned him. Saul’s heart remained intact, but the price of wholeness was the departure of the Spirit of God.

David’s prayer, “Take not your Spirit from me” means “Don’t let me be a Saul.”

Throughout the Old Testament, the Spirit gifts people to rule. The Spirit is in Joseph so he can deal wisely with a global famine. The Spirit clothes judges with spiritual armor. The Spirit equips David and Solomon to reign over Israel.

“Take not your Spirit from me” means “Don’t take the kingdom from me.” Yahweh hears David’s prayer. Unlike Saul, David immediately and fully confesses when confronted by a prophet. Heart-broken, he weeps and fasts. Because of his contrition, he gets his desire: “Take not Your Spirit from me.”

As much as judges, we are armed by the Spirit of Jesus for battle. As with Bezalel and Oholiab, the Spirit gives us skill to build God’s house. Like David and Solomon and Jesus, we are kings by the anointing of the Spirit. For us as for David, the Spirit finds a home among the fragments of a contrite heart.

This Spirit baptizes: “By one Spirit we are all baptized into one body,” Paul says. Every baptism is a little Pentecost, as the Spirit comes in wind and fire to anoint priests and kings. Today, Finn and Jesse join a royal priesthood, the company of kings.

Train your sons as kings. Train them to fight with spiritual weapons of prayer, righteousness, faith, the sword-word of the Spirit. Train them to rule with wisdom, and to build with skill.

When they sin, teach them that “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Assure them that God’s Spirit never abandons broken spirits or contrite hearts.

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