By WALTER ALBRITTON
Anyone familiar with the life of King David will recall that his usefulness to God sprang from the moment that he pled for God’s mercy. The prophet Nathan had called David out for his adultery with Bathsheba. David’s cry for mercy is immortalized in the heartrending words of Psalm 51: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness; according to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.”
God heard David’s prayer, forgave him, cleansed him of his sins and restored to him the joy of his salvation. From that moment on, having received God’s mercy, David would share with others that the gateway to God’s forgiveness is “a broken and contrite heart.”
That had not been David’s attitude when his lust for Bathsheba led him to commit adultery and arrange for Bathsheba’s husband to be killed in battle. With an arrogant spirit, he decided he could have what he wanted when he wanted it.
In any age, and in anyone, arrogance is an ugly attitude. To be arrogant is to exaggerate one’s importance with an attitude of superiority. Haughty people praise themselves. Humble people praise others. People humbled by their sins, as David was, find joy in praising God. In his Psalm begging God for mercy, David implores God to “open my lips” so he can praise God.
The only cure for arrogance is the mercy of God. In the gospels there are many accounts of people who, when encountering Jesus, cried for mercy. Those stories are there to remind us that true life begins when we turn to Jesus for mercy. The doorway to salvation is true repentance that results in the forgiveness of our sins. That’s when life “in Christ” begins.
Over many years I have been blessed by reading Morning By Morning, a devotional classic by Charles Spurgeon. Reflecting on the Lord’s mercy, Spurgeon invites his readers to meditate on these aspects of God’s mercy:
His mercy is tender. With gentleness, God heals our broken hearts and binds up our wounds.
His mercy is great. There is nothing small about God; his mercy is infinite and immeasurable.
His mercy is undeserved. We cannot earn God’s mercy; we have done nothing to deserve it. That’s why grace is called amazing!
His mercy is rich. It meets all our deepest needs.
His mercy is manifold. There is no single mercy, but a cluster of mercies. Jeremiah affirmed this when he said God’s “mercies” are “new every morning.”
His mercy is abounding. Though millions have received the Lord’s mercy, it has not been exhausted; it is still fresh and plentiful.
His mercy is unfailing. It will be there when you need it, during your life, and when you are dying, it will be “the joy of your soul.”
Considering the greatness of God’s mercy, and our great need of it, we can rejoice that His tender mercy is as available to us as it was to King David when we cry with a contrite heart, “Lord, have mercy on me.”