God’s Word of Mercy and Forgiveness
Psalm 51: Today’s reading is a psalm asking for God’s forgiveness, and it is attributed to King David. After David had arranged to have Uriah killed in battle so that he could marry Bathsheba, who was pregnant with David’s child, the prophet Nathan confronted David with his sin (see 2 Samuel 11:1—12:15).
A Prayer for Forgiveness
1Be merciful to me, O God,
because of your constant love.
Because of your great mercy
wipe away my sins!
2Wash away all my evil
and make me clean from my sin!
3I recognize my faults;
I am always conscious of my sins.
4 I have sinned against you—only against you—
and done what you consider evil.
So you are right in judging me;
you are justified in condemning me.
5I have been evil from the day I was born;
from the time I was conceived, I have been sinful.
6Sincerity and truth are what you require;
fill my mind with your wisdom.
7Remove my sin, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness;
and though you have crushed me and broken me,
I will be happy once again.
9Close your eyes to my sins
and wipe out all my evil.
10Create a pure heart in me, O God,
and put a new and loyal spirit in me.
11Do not banish me from your presence;
do not take your holy spirit away from me.
12Give me again the joy that comes from your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
13Then I will teach sinners your commands,
and they will turn back to you.
14Spare my life, O God, and save me,
and I will gladly proclaim your righteousness.
15Help me to speak, Lord,
and I will praise you.
16You do not want sacrifices,
or I would offer them;
you are not pleased with burnt offerings.
17My sacrifice is a humble spirit, O God;
you will not reject a humble and repentant heart.
18O God, be kind to Zion and help her;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19Then you will be pleased with proper sacrifices
and with our burnt offerings;
and bulls will be sacrificed on your altar.
Today’s Key Verse: Psalm 51:1
Be merciful to me, O God, because of your constant love. Because of your great mercy wipe away my sins!
How would you describe the tone of David’s prayer? What does he confess? What does he ask of God? Can this prayer serve as a model of confession for you? What do you need to confess to God today?
Be merciful to me, O God, because of your constant love, and wipe away all my sins. Create a pure heart in me and put a new and loyal spirit in me. Keep me forever in your presence so that I may know the joy that comes from you and your salvation. Teach me to obey you. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
Psalm 52: A psalm about God’s judgment and grace.