Day 16

Cast Me Not Away

from the Jesus, Keep Me Near The Cross reading plan


Lamentations 2:1-11, Psalm 51:11-14

BY Diana Stone

Text: Lamentations 2:1-11, Psalm 51:11-14

There’s a beautiful hymn by Keith Green based on Psalm 51:10-12 that I learned growing up. I liked the rhythm of it more than the words, and remember my mom—a song leader and pastor’s wife—humming it around the house when we were little.

I’m an adult now, with a stronger faith than that little girl who sang “Create in Me a Clean Heart” in the hall. Still, the verse “Take not thy Holy Spirit from me” makes me stop short. Would He??

These passages we read today are Old Testament writings, a time when God directly interacted with His people through prophets and dreams and a burning bush. For one of them, whom our Lord inspired to write this Psalm, pleading to not be cast away from the Lord’s presence is a real and impactful prayer. Possession of the gift of the Holy Spirit was not a given—not a thing to be taken for granted.

Like the Israelites, we are creatures of habit. We give our lives to Christ only to try to take them back again. We experience the true love of God, the redemption of our sins, but we are determined to come back in wallow in the mess of our own making—as if we don’t have a Savior. In the second chapter of Lamentations, we find the author continuing to grieve for Jerusalem, describing God’s wrath and sin’s effects on a people who have time and again disobeyed Him. Our Lord is Holy (Psalm 99)! He cannot be near sin; by His very nature He will not tolerate its presence. We cannot be reconciled to God apart from Jesus’ saving work on the Cross. Without Him, we are like the ruins of a destroyed city.

What does this mean for us today—a broken humanity of hurting souls? It means we must return. Time and time again, amid the devastation and chaos of our wayward lives and deceitful hearts, we give ourselves back to the One who gives us life. We hand Him our ruins and receive His grace. We repent of our sins and ask again for His forgiveness—and Scripture promises He is faithful to give it (1 John 1:9).

Take not your presence from me!, we cry. And because of Christ’s righteousness has been credited to us, He grants our request! The God of all mercy and all holiness draws His repentant children near and does not cast them away—this is the good news of the Gospel.

I’m drawn to the words “reconciliation” and “forgiveness” time and time again in Scripture. God never stops offering them! Even in Lamentations, standing in the ruins, the writer’s words of hope seem to call out on our behalf (Lam. 3:55-57). God will rescue us from the depths of our pit if we only ask.

But we must ask. We must repent and receive the forgiveness our Savior has already secured. He won’t chase us down and chain us to his holy chariot — but He does extend His hand. He does pursue our hearts and offer us the sacred opportunity to follow Him.

Follow or flee. Turn toward Him or turn away. Return or reject.

May we return today and receive His love anew. Thank God He is faithful to give it.

…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
– 2 Chronicles 7:14

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Post Comments (135)

135 thoughts on "Cast Me Not Away"

  1. Maria C says:

    I have goosebumps reading this devotional today in amazement of how the Word speaks to us. “Take not your Holy Spirit Away”. This stopped me on my tracks and had the same effect on me as when we studied Hosea and in verse 1:9 it said: Then the LORD said, “Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God. It stopped me in my tracks and made me imagine a world without God and the Holy Spirit. To me this is particularly eye opening because we tend to think the Holy Spirit comes in this big swoop of air with a grandiose entrance. But when I imagine my life without the Holy Spirit I immediately see the times when He has been present in my life– the solemn quiet moments, the little moments, the times when you just know the Spirit in present. And it makes me shudder to think of where my life would be had I not accepted Jesus into my life 8 years ago. Thank you Father for being so loving even when I do not deserve it, for you have been with me even when I turned my back on you. Your mercy , forgiveness and love means everything to me. And I do not want to take for granted ever and on purpose. Amen. Have a wonderful day sisters.

  2. Mackenzie says:

    The Lord has really been putting some of my own sin on my heart for the past few weeks, particularly my snarky attitude, cynicism, and my nature to gossip or talk poorly about certain individuals. Today’s reading and devotional reminds me to heed this call. To be a filter of God’s love. I pray a prayer of repentance, asking God to forgive me of my ways and to give me the discernment to recognize when these tendencies are encroaching and the strength to holdfast to Christ’s loving kindness. This season of Lent is my time to repent for my attitude. No excuses. Just repentance.

  3. Antimony says:

    “Follow or flee. Turn toward Him or turn away. Return or reject”. This is where I am right now. Which choice? I feel like if I commit to following I am destined to fail. But am I brave enough to reject? To set out and “do life” without acknowledging God?

    1. Christy says:

      Antimony I hear you! But you don’t have to worry about failing – we all stumble on this journey, but He’s right there with us to help us up if we let him.

  4. Stefania says:

    "Return or reject." We really only have two options and I, guiltily, have been choosing the second one far more often than the first. It's something that I struggle with especially in the morning when I choose the comfort of my bed & sleep over spending time in prayer with Him. Return or reject. How convicting. I'm really thankful that He never crosses His arms towards us – He always has His hand waiting for us to take and lead us. Thank You Father.

  5. Jeanne says:

    Thank you for restoring my sinful self and the joy of being in your presence.

  6. Nicole says:

    Today I was struggling with this devotional. I would read and re read the words but I felt like there is a veil blocking me from seeing clearly. After praying and crying out to God, it came to that my sins and shame are that veil!! How can I draw close to God with that in the way? I have to lay my sins down in front of him, in all my sadness and shame, and repent and allow him to take them from me, so that I can see him clearly and draw near to him. I can be washed clean and be restored with joy for Christ! When I pray for a clean heart, I am asking for more than forgiveness, I am asking God to allow a horrible sinner like me, to draw near to him. Wow! How blessed we are!!!

    1. Oh, sister. Thank you for sharing this with us. What a wonderful thing He is doing!

      xo-Kaitlin for SheReadsTruth

  7. Paula says:

    “Return”! Such a joy!

  8. Maxine_R says:

    I want to follow, turn toward and return! Help me Jesus to fix my eyes on the cross and not get distracted with the things of this world! In Jesus name, Amen!

    1. Saundra says:

      Praying this same prayer with you

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