Psalm 51 is one of the most gut-wrenching Psalms in the Bible. It is the wailing of a man broken by his sin.
David, the anointed king of Israel, the one God called “a man after my own heart,” had committed adultery with the wife of Uriah, one of David’s fiercest and most loyal soldiers. When Uriah’s wife told David she was pregnant with his child, David tried to cover up his sin. Under false pretenses, he recalled Uriah from battle, assuming Uriah would sleep with his wife while home. Uriah, however, was a man of honor and would not enjoy the company of his wife while his brothers in arms were on the battlefield. Panicked, David had Uriah unwittingly carry his own death sentence to the commander of the armies of Israel.
Once Uriah died, David thought he had gotten away with his sin. But he hadn’t. In 2 Samuel 12, we read how God confronted David with his sin, and his guilt crushed him. Now a shattered man, he wrote Psalm 51 as he dealt with his sin.
Although Psalm 51 begins in despair, it ends in hope. That’s because God’s mercy brings us peace and hope. Even though we are guilty of sinning against God, He forgives us when we trust Christ to forgive our sins. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. He took on himself the punishment we deserved.
Benton Hall works with university students and has seen not only the shame brought on by sin but also the hope that God’s forgiveness brings.
Receiving God’s mercy includes letting go of old hurts and pride. When any of us admit weakness and failure within our churches, people around us often become uncomfortable. And yet, Jesus showed us his mercy and died for our sins because we’re not perfect. God shows his mercy best by forgiving the sins of imperfect people.
Hebrews 4:16 reads, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Have you experienced God’s mercy by trusting Christ to forgive your sins? How did that happen?
Have you experienced his mercy since then? When He shows you sins in your life, do you cover them up and hide them? Do you confess them and ask Him to forgive you?
When others have hurt you, is it easy or hard to extend God’s mercy to them? Why?
How did Benton’s student find mercy? How can you find mercy? (See Hebrews 4:16.)
Who in your life needs to know about God’s mercy? How will you tell them?
Because God is merciful, he forgives me of my sins when I sincerely confess them.
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