Psalm 51:1-12

Our devotions this Lenten season have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church. Today’s devotion is by Barbara Balius. Also, if you would like to join our staff in praying the liturgy for Responsive Prayer/Suffrages just click here.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment. Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me. You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. Psalm 51:1-12

For those who think grace was a concept born of the New Testament ministry of Jesus, THINK AGAIN. If ever there was an example of God’s grace in the Old Testament it was the story of David and his shenanigans with Bathsheba. David messed up, and big time!

The short story: David saw a beautiful woman bathing, Bathsheba. Her husband was away at war. David ‘lay down’ with her. She became pregnant. David couldn’t convince Uriah to claim the baby as his own, so David sent him back to war where he was killed. When the baby was born, it only lived for a week. This psalm is David’s cry of “I messed up, and I’m really, really sorry.”

It is a prayer for mercy and grace. God’s grace is not so simple.

David is not just given a “free pass” without any consequences. There are always consequences for one’s sins—guilt, shame, and all of the other ‘natural’ consequences that come with messing up. Through all of what he went through, David knew where to go. It took him a while but it was God, and only God, who could deliver him from his horrible situation. David was faithful.

Let us pray: Dear God, help me! I mess up daily, and I keep messing up. Grant me mercy and forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


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