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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Generous in love, huge in mercy - Part I

Generous in love- God, give grace! Huge in mercy – wipe out my bad record. Scrub away my guilt, soak out my sins in your laundry. I know how bad I’ve been; my sins are staring me down. (Psalm 51:1-3)


 
Today, we begin a look into the greatness of God's love and the unending mercies he bestows.  David had gone astray – his heart had chosen his own way - he had entered into an adulterous relationship with Bathsheba in a moment of passion almost one year prior to writing this Psalm. During that time, he had lived the misery of his sin without knowing the freedom of confession and repentance. We often live in the misery of sin much longer than we have to – because we don’t embrace our sin and allow God’s Spirit to deal with ours.  Over the next several days, we will explore the freedom that comes with confession and repentance.

Nearly one year prior, David had stayed behind while all his men went out to war against Rabbah, a town of the Ammonites. Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah, a warrior in the army of David. David fell into an adulterous relationship with her while Uriah fought at Rabbah and then sought to cover it up by bringing Uriah home ahead of all the other troops. He told him to go home to his wife, but Uriah would not enjoy the privileges of home while his brethren were out in battle. He slept at the gate of the palace instead. David’s attempted cover-up of his sin had failed. Now he had to order Uriah to be sent to the front line, in the line of fire, that he might be killed in the line of duty. It was then, believing his cover up of his sin to be complete, that he took Bathsheba to be his wife. She had already conceived a child as a result of their first encounter, so David was desperate to cover-up his affair. Sin makes us desperate – we often will do things that we did not believe possible in order to save face.

 
David has wallowed in the grief of his sin for these many months. Now, he would call upon the God he knew – the God he should have known to call on much earlier than this. He calls on the God who is generous in love – the God that he knows to have had a forbearing spirit with both his ancestors and himself in the past.

  • A God who is liberal in his giving.  
  • God who is ample in his outpouring of love.
He calls upon this God he knows so well to give grace – that unmerited favor he did not deserve. It is out of what David understands about the heart of God that he calls upon God. He beckons the God that is huge in mercy – immensely merciful, enormously generous, and exceedingly capable in every area where David had proven himself to be exceedingly incapable. He had an awareness of God’s character because he had the privilege of hearing the Word of God proclaimed in the Temple, he had heard the many stories of a miracle-working, merciful, compassionate God. The God who was compassionate to those in distress, willing to show his compassion that resisted punishing even when justice demanded it. He was calling out to the God who had repeatedly been merciful to an undeserving group of people he had chosen from among the other nations to call as his own. Mercy always refers to those who are undeserving of it – David knew he stood as completely undeserving of this mercy – yet he calls.

Scrub away my guilt - the consciousness of my inadequacy to resist sin and the feelings of blame and condemnation that accompany my sin’s deed – scrub it away. The sin David was referring to was multi-faceted – it began as lust, conceived as adultery, took on full-depth as murder and cover-up. Now he is calling upon the God of love and mercy to cancel it, to completely eliminate it. This sin had gone deep into every crevice of David’s being – it needed the hand of God to fully uncover what had become so totally ingrained in his inner man. He calls upon God to separate him from the impurities of his sin - because they taunted him in the stillness of the day, the quietness of the night hours, and the brightness of the noonday. Guilt taunts us – stares us down, jeers at us, challenges us – all the while mocking us in an insulting manner in every attempt to ridicule us. David longed to be free of this type of continual internal insult to his character – to be free of the challenge of his guilt.

God's response of mercy is all that David hopes for - it is what each of us hope for when we cry out in our anguish of guilt.  What is it that you are crying out to God today to forgive and extend his mercy toward?  He stands ready to forgive - he stands ready for our confession of guilt.  He stands ready to embrace.  Reach out.  He is waiting.