“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 from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.”
Psalm 51:1–2

Psalm 51 is David’s prayer of repentance after the prophet Nathan’s rebuke. David’s prayer of repentance came from a broken heart pleading for mercy. His guilt was established and the pain it brought haunted him day and night. There was no other route but to appeal for mercy. In fact, this was how David started his prayer . . . he sought God’s mercy. Imperfect as he was, we see David as a man who knew God’s heart.

“Have mercy on me, O God” will surely not be a prayer exclusive to David. It’s also a prayer for anyone who wants to avail of it, ready to humbly plead for it. David’s plea for mercy wasn’t like a lost man crying for salvation; it was a prayer of a saved man crying for the restoration of his relationship with God. David’s appeal for mercy was the beginning of his recovery. Asking for mercy from God put him in the place where he truly belonged. Instead of pretending, David pleaded for mercy; instead of covering up, he exposed himself to Him whose compassion is great and mercy is abundant. David knew his God, and God perfectly knew David. Such intimate relationship doesn’t only flourish in good times; it blooms the most in those times when mercy and grace are needed. Mercy is the attribute of God. The adversary, the Devil, isn’t capable of being merciful. This is also the curse the Devil passes on to those who lobby for his help. The evil one grants what his victims wish for, but the wishes granted are void of mercy. David went to God for mercy, for he knew that his God was capable of extending this.

What specific mercy did David ask of God? Unlike King Saul, David asked for a right standing with God again, not restoring a kingly reputation or saving a damaged public image. He asked for cleansing of the heart and freedom from haunting guilt. David was fully aware that consequences would follow but he knew that by being under God’s mercy, he could live through the consequences of his sins. Though trembling at the holiness of God, he knew that though God is mighty, He never stops from being merciful!

This excerpt is taken from Moments of Grace written by Arnel C. Tan and published by OMF Literature Inc. To get the full devotional in print or digital format, please visit any OMF Lit and Passages Bookshop or go to www.passages.com.ph.