Psalm 51, Day 1

Devotional for Monday, May 18

We’re going to spend this week exploring Psalm 51, which gives us an opportunity to take our sins before the Lord and seek forgiveness.

This is a psalm designed to give us a new start when we find ourselves broken and ashamed. The original context of the psalm is very specific—its ancient instructional heading says, “For the choir director: A psalm of David, regarding the time Nathan the prophet came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.”

Adultery wasn’t David’s only sin. In trying to cover up what he had done, King David also attempted to hide his transgression by arranging for Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah the Hittite, to die in battle.

Psalm 51:1-3
Have mercy on me, O God,
    because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
    blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
    Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
    it haunts me day and night.

Take a little time to meditate on what it means to seek God’s mercy for even the most terrible sins.

Once we are ready to ask for mercy, our hearts at least are in the right place—we understand the Creator is over and above all things, the only one with the power to restore the disobedient.

As Christians, we have a fuller picture of just how compassionate God is. Centuries after David’s transgression, God comes among the Davidic line and the rest of the Jews in flesh, as Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. We look to the cross and believe, and the stain of our sins is blotted out!

There is a first step toward forgiveness, though. We must truly repent of the sins we have committed; our regret must be so great that we turn away from what we have done.

Lord, where we now stray from your will, may sadness and regret build in us so we turn away from what displeases you. Amen.