10 Minute Read


Numbers 10:1–11:23
Mark 14:1-21
Psalm 51:1-19
Proverbs 10:31-32


Psalm 51:11 (CSB): “Do not banish me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”


While some Christians get bent out of shape over the types of music that get sung in church services, I kind of love them all. Sure, I have my favorites but if the song brags on Jesus or encourages me as I follow Jesus and if it is biblically accurate, then I’m all for it.

One of the genres of Christian music that was popular in the second half of the 20th century simply put Scripture to music. Those songs made memorizing God’s Word so much easier.

Here’s a video of “Create in Me a Clean Heart.” The words were taken directly from Psalm 51. I chose the following version, sung by the late Keith Green (1953-1982), because I have always respected his compassionate and yet heavy-hitting approach to following Jesus.

Beautiful song, isn’t it?

And yet, it is unbiblical.

“Wait a minute, Matt!” you may say. “It was taken straight from God’s Word! How can you say it is unbiblical?”

Simply by pointing to the words: “Do not banish me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”

Friend, those are Old Testament words and concepts. They are a prayer that was appropriate for Old Testament leaders.

But, they are NOT appropriate for New Testament saints.

Without making this post too lengthy, I would encourage you to investigate the Holy Spirit’s work in the Old Testament as opposed to the New Testament.

You will discover that the Old Testament tells us about the Holy Spirit filling only a very small group of people. They were those who had been placed into positions of leadership and authority by the Lord. It was God’s way of equipping those who led and spoke to His people. Those who were filled tended to be limited to kings and prophets.

Numbers 27:18 (CSB): “The LORD replied to Moses, ‘Take Joshua son of Nun, a man who has the Spirit in him, and lay your hands on him.'”

Judges 3:9-10 (CSB): “The Israelites cried out to the LORD. So the LORD raised up Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s youngest brother, as a deliverer to save the Israelites. The Spirit of the LORD came on him, and he judged Israel…”

1 Samuel 16:13 (CSB): “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully on David from that day forward. Then Samuel set out and went to Ramah.”

On and on I could go with verses that demonstrate that the Holy Spirit came upon Israel’s leaders, not the masses. Why did the Spirit come upon the leaders? To empower them to do what God had ordained them to do.

But, then we realize that there was a negative example. We come to the first king of Israel, a man named Saul. First, notice that the Lord filled Saul with the Spirit so that he was enabled to lead the people of Israel.

1 Samuel 10:9-10 (CSB): “When Saul turned around to leave Samuel, God changed his heart, and all the signs came about that day. When Saul and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a group of prophets met him. Then the Spirit of God came powerfully on him, and he prophesied along with them.”

In the previous verses, we read of a man who was changed and empowered by God to be the first king of the nation of Israel.

But, then, Saul grieved God’s heart for the last time. He persistently did things that were unbecoming of a king of Israel. Finally, God had all He could take.

1 Samuel 15:26 (CSB): “Samuel replied to Saul, ‘I will not return with you. Because you rejected the word of the LORD, the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.‘”

1 Samuel 16:14 (CSB): “Now the Spirit of the LORD had left Saul, and an evil spirit sent from the LORD began to torment him,”

Because Saul had repeatedly disobeyed the Lord, the Lord finally took His Holy Spirit from King Saul. So, the result was that a King of Israel was then forced to lead in his own limited power. He no longer received divine help from God. In the absence of the Holy Spirit’s filling, Saul was reduced to a floundering king, incapable of leading God’s people rightly.

King David assumed the throne after Saul’s death. As King David had observed how his predecessor had been reduced to a pitiful excuse for a king when God’s Holy Spirit was taken from him, we realize that David had an ongoing fear that the same thing could happen to him. He was terrified that he could offend a Holy God and have God’s Spirit taken away, too.

The context of Psalm 51 is that David had been confronted with his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba, his passive murder of her husband, and his ongoing attempts to conceal all of these grievous sins.

David was terrified. He could repent. But his sin was massive. Would God strip him of the Holy Spirit, like He did to King Saul, reducing him to a pitiful excuse for a king?

Psalm 51:11 (CSB): “Do not banish me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”

We understand why David uttered the words of Psalm 51:11.

But, my friend, those are Old Testament words. New Testament saints should never ever feel compelled to utter them … not even when they appear in 20th century choruses.

Friend, because Jesus died on the cross, and because you (I hope) have trusted in Him for eternal life, part of the package you received was the baptism of the Holy Spirit. All that means is that when you got saved, the Holy Spirit came into your heart, identifying you with Christ.

Romans 8:9 (CSB): “You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (CSB): “Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body.”

1 Corinthians 12:13-14 (CSB): “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free – and we were all given one Spirit to drink. Indeed, the body is not one part but many.”

Galatians 4:6 (CSB): “And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba, Father!'”

In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit inhabits not just Christian leadership but every single believer! And, He never leaves once He takes up residence in our heart. We can certainly do things that keep Him from working powerfully in our life (1 Thessalonians 5:19) and there are things that we can do that free up the Holy Spirit to lead us and empower us (Ephesians 5:8).

But, we never, ever have to worry about the Holy Spirit leaving us.

We never, ever have to pray: “Do not banish me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.” Jesus took our punishment on the cross so that we are continually a recipient of God’s love and grace. He will never, ever take His Holy Spirit from us.

In fact, we have the guarantee that He will be faithful to us when we are not faithful to Him. He is God’s guarantee that we will one day reside in Heaven in God’s presence forever.

Ephesians 1:13-14 (CSB): “In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.”

Friend, if you have the Holy Spirit in you, while you can “quench Him,” you can never, ever do anything that sends Him packing. He is the down payment on your inheritance. He is the guarantee that you, who God saved, will safely make it to your Heavenly home.

So, while there are powerful truths in Psalm 51, don’t sing or pray the words of verse 11. They are Old Testament theology and have no place under the New Covenant, the New Testament.