Thursday, February 15, 2024

David’s Prayer for Mercy from a Broken and Sinful Heart

Thursday, February 15, 2024

David’s Prayer for Mercy from a Broken and Sinful Heart – Psalm 51 submitted by Kay Crumley

Chapter 51 of Psalms is a cry from David after he was confronted by the prophet Nathan about his sin. You can read that encounter in 2 Samuel 11-12. David had allowed his desire for another man’s wife to lead to sin. Nathan set him up with a story about a wealthy man taking advantage of a poor man then told David he was that wealthy man. That led David to admit his sin and beg for mercy. 

Consider a time you have been forced to admit to your own poor choices. Has there been a time you were faced with the realization of your sin? That can happen when someone confronts you, when you’re convicted by the Holy Spirit, or you finally stop justifying your actions. Satan is the author of lies and can prompt us to conform to the world’s standards of living. That is often in direct opposition to the standards set by our Heavenly Father. How we respond to our sin is critical. Children will respond to parent’s correction by denying, blaming others, or admitting misbehavior. As God’s children we continue to behave as children in our response to our sin. In today’s passage we will examine David’s response.  

Psalm 51 

1 Have mercy on me, O God, 
    according to your unfailing love; 
according to your great compassion 
    blot out my transgressions. 
2 Wash away all my iniquity 
    and cleanse me from my sin. 

3 For I know my transgressions, 
    and my sin is always before me. 
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned 
    and done what is evil in your sight; 
so you are right in your verdict 
    and justified when you judge. 


David began this Psalm begging for God’s mercy. He knew God’s goodness and love; he called on God to grant him compassion and forgiveness. I have heard people say they ‘throw themselves on the mercy of the court’. That’s what David is doing in verse one. He admits he needs forgiveness and that can only come from God. He then confesses that he recognizes the depth of his sin. He is completely unable to put it out of his mind. Our sin is always against God. Actions will hurt other people, perhaps in several ways, but the nature of sin is always disobedience to God. 1 John 3:4 Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. David agrees that God is correct in passing a verdict against him and is justified to judge David for his sinRepentance is the decision to face our sin, to seek forgiveness, and to turn from our sinful practices. As children, we said ‘I’m sorry’ please don’t punish me. Many times, that was more about being caught in our misbehavior than true regret for our actions. God sees man’s heart, his true attitude, when confronted with sin. I challenge us to ask ourselves, ‘is my sorrow truly for having sinned or only for being caught in that sin?’ God is never fooled by our words because He knows our heart.   


David then begs God for what he genuinely desires in verses 10-12 

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, 
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 
11 Do not cast me from your presence 
    or take your Holy Spirit from me. 
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation 
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 

After we sin, God will forgive our sin and restore our relationship to Him through Jesus when we ask for His forgiveness with a genuinely contrite heart. 1 John 1:9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.  We can go to Him in prayer and know that Jesus intercedes for us with the Father. The Holy Spirit understands our groanings when we don’t have words to express our heart’s desire for repentance and forgiveness. As children of the Eternal, Creator, Loving God we are never alone. He hears all our prayers and answers them. He is our Rock, our Strong Tower in times of trouble. Psalm 56:8 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. We can confidently go to Him with ALL our sorrows, He knows every trial we face and is ready to carry our burdens. We have a Mighty, Compassionate Father. Thank Him for all His goodness and mercy for His children. 



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