“Don’t ever put me far from your presence” demonstrates perfect confidence. David is not afraid that God will throw away his own, or rob his child of the guaranted help. There are many reasons to consider that God was not always with all people, but how could the Everywhere-Present GOD be ever far from anyone? The certainty of divine presence and the immanu-el factor is not New Testament theology. It is Biblical. Solomon understood divine presence as he came to dedicate the temple. Adam and Eve, thrust out of their home in Eden, could not he;lp but feel elienated, especially if they were aware of the flaming sword barring their way back. A close look at Saul, the first king of Israel shows that he is quite unlike David. God’s Spirit left him to think his own thoughts, often homicidal and paranoid. David’s prayer in the matter of presence is uncomplicated because he, endowed with divine attitudes and desires – declared to be a person after God’s heart – was not at any time abandoned, even when he grieved ELOHIM with attitudes and behaviours that were homicidal and undoubtedly ungodly.
“μὴ ἀπορρίψῃς με ἀπὸ τοῦ προσώπου σου καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιόν σου μὴ ἀντανέλῃς ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ.” (Psalms 51:11, LXX)The first two words, me aporripses, are to be taken as forbidding an action not yet begin, and so are the 3rd and fourth words from last, me antaneles
Like the request in the disciples’ prayer – don’t ever lead us into temptation – David in this song requests, in full anticipation, that (a) God keeps him near and (b) that the Spirit [accompanying him since his anointing ] never be taken from him.
Well, glory be to God!
“καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν…” (Matthew 6:13, MorphGNT)kai me eisenegkes, and do not ever lead
I want us to imagine that the only guarantee of help that believers have as a result of their faith in God’s son could ever be taken away from them. If that HELP was taken would it not be the result of a faithless, empty and uncalled for imagination? He does not ever lead us into temptation because he has no need to test us, as he admits he did Israel in at least two instances and in general (Exodus 16:4, 17:2, 20:20)
He has no need to tempt us; we do that all by ourselves in the exercise of our desires and the host of innate motivations.
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. (Mark 7:21-22, NASB)
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” (James 1:13-15, NASB)
Prayer ought to be shaped by agreement with what God has said or done. True, God invites us to ask what we wish, but, knowing that God has a detailed plan for every aspect of our lives, why would any child of God risk not listening to the Holy Spirit for what to pray for by asserting his or her own desires? The Holy Spirit, as present in every believer, cannot possibly inspire a prayer that asks for something outside of God’s will and plan. David’s prayer, using a prohibition (a negative command), can only be interpreted as (a) acknowledgement of personal weakness and (b) God’s caring oversight not to expose his servant to such a risk. For crying out loud, did not Adam and Eve, the first untainted humans stumble at temptation? As the Lord Christ reminds us, each day has its own evil. David is neither requesting freedom from temptation nor commanding God’s action in securing the same, but is a profound afrirmation of what he knows to be impossible. In that light there surely are tons of uninformed recitations, intercessions, requests, and petitions posing as prevailing prayer.