Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. (Psalm 51:1)Psalm 51 is a favorite of many, me included. It is a poem written by King David sometime after this guy, Nathan (known as a prophet) came to King David and called him out on his adultery with Bathsheba. I have written 2 other posts this year on this situation. I pointed out that this psalm is simply a heart felt confession by David acknowledging that he has sinned Against God. In Not Religion I point out that God is not looking for perfect people. He is not looking for religious people. He is looking for honest people. Honest in our view of God and our view of ourselves.
I am reading a new little book on Psalm 51 titled Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy. This book, written by Paul Tripp, takes you on a journey through this Psalm. It is a small book of about 160 pages that is broken down into 52 short meditations that are clear and beautifully written.
I was really caught by his reflection on Psalm 51:1. I would encourage you to read the whole meditation. It is the first one in the book and only 2 pages (21 & 22). It is available in a free preview of the book here online.
Here is how he concludes his meditation on verse 1 in this book.
What’s actually true is that when I come to the Lord after I’ve blown it, I’ve only one argument to make. It’s not the argument of the difficulty of the environment that I am in. It’s not the argument of the difficult people that I’m near. It’s not the argument of good intentions that were thwarted in some way. No, I only have one argument. It’s right there in the first verse of Psalm 51, as David confesses his sin with Bathsheba. I come to the Lord with only one appeal; his mercy. I’ve no other defense. I’ve no other standing. I’ve no other hope. I can’t escape the reality of my biggest problem; me! So I appeal to the one thing in my life that’s sure and will never fail. I appeal to the one thing that guaranteed not only my acceptance with God, but the hope of new beginnings and fresh starts. I appeal on the basis of the greatest gift I ever have or ever will be given. I leave the courtroom of my own defense, I come out of hiding and I admit who I am. But I’m not afraid, because I’ve been personally and eternally blessed. Because of what Jesus has done, God looks on me with mercy. It’s my only appeal, it’s the source of my hope, it’s my life. Mercy, mercy me!
I admit it. I am my own biggest problem. But God is merciful and has blessed me in Christ. Jesus is my only appeal before God!
You might also be interested in this Whiter Than Snow Interview Video.