Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
— Psalm 51:1–2
This powerful passage comes from the heart of a person who is broken over his sexual sin. David, the King of Israel, is dealing with a heavy burden of guilt and shame, and he approaches God with complete submission. He does not start to bargain or work out a deal. He begins by making God big and himself small. Only the God of the universe, the King of all kings, could lift the burden and give David the forgiveness he needed. This submissive, humble posture is the key to true repentance that leads to forgiveness.
Humble yourself, under the mighty hand of God…
— 1 Peter 5:6
Have you ever been caught doing something wrong, and instead of feeling sorry, you get mad? Your remorse is far more about getting caught than doing the wrong thing. This is the opposite of what we read in David’s words. Knowing the mercy, unfailing love, and magnitude of God’s character, David experiences the overwhelming feeling of being separated from God’s goodness. He had a deep relationship with God that brought him complete peace, and then that was gone. He knew that God deserved all glory. He had experienced his majesty and his awesome power. He knew that his sin had broken the relationship of trust that he had with God. When he wrote this, he had moved from being sorry he got caught to being overwhelmed and saddened by the sinful choices that had damaged the relationship between him and the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing God. David was also powerful, significant, and respected by many as a great king and warrior, but he came humbly to God. He knew that no earthly admiration and power could compare to having a right relationship with the Creator of the universe. And that acknowledgment and attitude of humility is a beautiful example to us, reminding us to give God the glory he deserves, even as we approach him for forgiveness.
Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.
— 1 Chronicles 29:11
Two questions to ponder today: Do you view God with the same significant might, power, and authority as David? Second, if your view is a little small, how can you begin to increase that view today?