Do not cast me away21.  Do not cast me away

“Do not cast me away from your presence”

– Psalm 51:11a

Cast away.  Synonyms:    Jettison.  Abandon.  Discard.  Leave behind.  Throw away.  Get rid of.

The past couple weeks, with the temperature leaping into the 70s, may lead us to hope that winter is over.  It may also have us thinking about some springtime rituals.  A new Royals baseball season.  Spring break.  And then there’s the time-honored tradition of the spring garage sale.  It’s a time to sort through stuff  in the garage and basement and decide what can be sold, donated or just cast away.

The psalmist prays that God doesn’t, in the midst of some divine spring cleaning, decide to put him out on the curb with a price tag or just a sign to “help yourself.”   He hopes that all the sins in his life don’t lead the Lord to cast him away.

In the Old Testament,  Samuel had warned the people against seeking a king — but they did so anyway.  And then this:

And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart . . . For the LORD will not cast away his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself . . .  Only fear the LORD, and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things he has done for you. (1Samuel 12:20, 22, 24)

It’s a view of God’s faithfulness and determination to hold onto us, regardless.

In the book of Ezekiel, the Lord urges the people to do their own spring cleaning:

Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity will be your ruin.  Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord GOD. Turn, then, and live.   (Ezekiel 18:29-32)

How striking these verses are after reading Psalm 51:10-11.  God calls on the people to cast away all that offends and to get a new heart and new spirit.  It’s a Lenten prescription for renewal.   What do we need to cast away in these weeks?   What from our lives should we tag and set out for sale on the driveway or front lawn — or simply throw away?   How can we “turn . . . and live”?

Prayer

Dear Lord,

Hold onto us, we pray.  No matter what our sin or flaw.  Hold onto us, reshape us, mold us, use us again in your service and for your glory.  Help us to turn and live.

Amen

 

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