Trusting God Can Do More

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You know that pit that forms in your stomach when you’ve made a mistake?

When I was a child, I loved to help my mom carry groceries from the car into the house. I do not know what it was about the weekly process that was so enjoyable to me, but I remember it made me happy. One day I grabbed a gallon of milk that was bigger than I was at the time. I remember the “You probably shouldn’t try that” look on my mom’s face. Just as I began to skip to the porch, proving my strength, the milk slipped from my hands onto the asphalt, breaking open and leaving a white trail. What a mess! And what a pit in my stomach.

David wrote Psalm 51 amid a mess, but it wasn’t a simple mistake of spilled milk. The subtitle of Psalm 51 cuts to the heart of the matter before we can even read a word of the Psalm. It reads: “A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.” Yes, David, the king who had been anointed by God, messed up royally.

In 2 Samuel 11&12, we find the backstory of Psalm 51. In only two chapters, David is tempted, commits adultery, impregnates a woman, murders her husband to try to cover it up, and gets called out for it all. Enter Psalm 51. David pens a plea for mercy.

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.” (Psalm 51:1 NIV)

He continues his plea for mercy with a request for forgiveness. His agony and regret can be felt in every phrase of the psalm. When I recently read this passage, today’s key verse arrested me. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 NIV)

David had been called “a man after God’s own heart” when he was anointed king. He knew that it is only by God’s creation that his heart can be made pure. This is a new work that he can’t come up with on his own. He needs the Spirit of the living God and longs to be in God’s presence.

It’s easy to feel the pit in our stomach when we’ve turned the wrong way or chose what we shouldn’t have, but harder to think that we can repair the holes in our hearts. I am so encouraged to know that we don’t have to try to do this ourselves! Our part is simply to align our hearts with the Lord. He is the One who will perform the heart fix we need. He is the One who renews and restores.

Psalm 51 is a beautiful song of confession to the Lord. Though temptation can trip us up and sin can weigh us down, God is ever-forgiving.

Today we can trust that the Lord is going to take our failures and short-comings and forget them, just as He did for David. Not only does He forget them, but He redeems them, giving our shortcomings a beautiful story. Pray Psalm 51 with me?

Pray with Me

Have mercy on me, God. May Your unfailing love and compassion pour over me and cover my sin. I’m so sorry that I have failed You, Lord. I need You to cleanse my heart; I know that Your forgiveness makes me as white as snow. Amen.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you Rachel for your passionate and beautiful heart to bless and encourage others!

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