“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:17

Psalm 51 is such a beautiful picture of repentance. Although he had tried to hide what he had done earlier, now as conviction fills his heart, David confesses his sin to the Lord and cries out for mercy and forgiveness.

  • Verse 1, He asks God for mercy knowing that he does not deserve it.
  • Verse 2, He asks God to thoroughly cleanse his heart.
  • Verse 3, He admits his failure knowing there will be consequences.
  • Verse 4, He acknowledges that he had failed God.
  • Verse 6, He trusted that the Lord would hear him and change his heart.
  • Verse 9, He asked God to blot his iniquity from his record.
  • Verse 10, He asked God for a clean heart and a renewing in his spirit.
  • Verse 12, He asked the Lord to restore his joy.

David came to the Lord, just as he was, admitting his failure, and knowing that as he repented, he would receive complete and unconditional acceptance. Remember David lived long before the time of Christ, and so he did not have the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus. He did not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in His heart like we can experience it today. But he had complete faith in God’s mercy.e

When we first come to know Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, and seek His face, the blood of Jesus Christ washes away our sins and makes us clean. But, because we are human, we will make mistakes. But like David, we can come to the Lord, just as we are, confessing our failures to Him and asking for His mercy.

I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

The hymn writer expressed it well: Just as I am, without one plea, But that Thy blood was shed for me, And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!”

Prayer: Jesus, you are merciful and longsuffering. You know our weaknesses and all the times we fail you. Today, we are asking for your mercy once again. We come just as we are, asking you to make us what you want us to be.

Devotion by Anne Johnston


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