We never outgrow our need for God’s mercy. We might sometimes mistakenly think that if we walk with God long and far enough we will eventually outgrow our need for it. But here in the 51st Psalm, a contrite and repentant King David teaches us to respond to sin in our lives by crying out to God for mercy, by appealing to His steadfast love and His abundant mercy.
Notice what the David does not appeal to. He does not appeal to his own previous works for God or previous intimacy with God. He does not remind God of his boyhood victory over Goliath or those moments of integrity when he was running for his life from Saul. He doesn’t remind God of the many good things he’d done or the multitude of people he’d helped during his tenure as king.
No, none of these are found in this prayer. Instead, David appeals to what he knows to be true about God. He humbly appeals for mercy based on God’s own character. David tells God his only hope for mercy is God’s own merciful character.
Just like David, we should regularly come to God and cry out for his mercy. We must learn to ask him for mercy because of who He is, not because of who we are. When we come to God for mercy, we can be confident he hears us and blots out our transgressions.
“We need the Lord to have mercy upon our good works, our prayers, our preaching, our offerings, and our living sacrifices.” ~C.H. Spurgeon