"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!" Psalm 51:1-2
I stood before a judge once and it did not go as well as I had hoped. Let me explain the story. One day I was at work and I received a call that I needed to go to a home and perform a service call. I quickly jumped into the work touch and drove to the home. On my way there I was pulled over by a police officer who noticed that the tags on the work truck were expired. But then he noticed that I did not have my glasses on either. I had inadvertently left them in my truck back at the job site. My heart sunk as he handed me a three hundred dollar ticket and told me that I would have to call to have someone come and pick me up.
I decided that I would go the court date and plead for mercy to have the ticket reduced. I would be happy if it were reduced by even just a little bit. So I took a half of a day off from work and got all dressed up to go before the judge. I had never done this before so I did not know what to expect.
When I arrived I was directed into a room that was full of people. We were all there to go before the judge for having violated various rules. We were told that we would go before the judge when called upon and then we would wait afterwards in that courtroom until a break when we would be escorted down to the county clerks office to pay our fines.
As luck would have it, I was called up first to go before the judge. I stood there not knowing exactly what to do. The judge listened to what my violation had been and then gave me three options. He said, "Mr. Cooper, do you plead guilty, not-guilty, or no contest?" I paused for a moment and thought about what I should answer. There was no option for me to ask for mercy.
I looked at the judge and I said, "I am guilty". As soon as I said this the judge hit his gavel on the desk and handed out my sentence. I was fined three hundred dollars and had three points taken off of my record. I was stunned. Everything happened so fast. I was told to go back to my seat and wait to be taken down to pay my fine. I sat there frustrated. What a waste of time. I had taken a half of a day off and now I would also have to pay the full fine.
The next man that they called up before the judge was there for drunk driving. I felt sorry for this guy because he was about to get in serious trouble for his offense. When he was asked how he would plead he said that he was guilty. The judge again moved quickly to sentence him but then the man interrupted the judge and pleaded for mercy. As a result, the judge reduced his penalty and showed him mercy. I sat there in utter shock and disbelief. I had no idea that you could interrupt a judge like that and not be in contempt of court.
Here in Psalm 51 David cries out to the Lord for mercy. It is the very first thing that he says in this psalm. David, like that man who had been convicted of drunk driving, wastes no time in asking the righteous judge for mercy. Now I stood before this man and failed to seek mercy because of fear but here David seeks mercy not from a man but from God. May we all be so bold before God when given the opportunity.
One of the other things I notice is that David did not simply ask for mercy because he saw the right opportunity but because he knew the One to whom he would make this request. He pleads for mercy not simply because there was an opportunity in time but because God has steadfast love and is abundant in mercy. I feared to open my mouth not only because I missed the opportunity but because I did not know the judge. If I knew that the judge was full of steadfast love and mercy then I would not have hesitated to plead for mercy at any point as I stood before him. So if you need mercy do not simply look for the right moment, which is right now, but know the character and disposition of God. He is a righteous judge full of steadfast love and mercy.
Notice the boldness of David. I would have been happy to have the judgment against me reduced even a little. But David makes a bold request. He wants to be washed thoroughly from his iniquity. He wanted his transgressions expunged from his record completely. And he wanted to be cleansed from his sin. David make three bold requests. Again, this is not simply because he saw an opportunity but because he knew of God's mercy and love. If this was just about an opportunity he had then he would probably been content to be vague in his request.
Notice that David makes this request
of the only person that could forgive him of this transgression. He had committed adultery and he had also murdered a man. By the law he was to be put to death. God was the only one to who David could plead for mercy. The law would not show mercy but God can. David lived but God's Son would one day die.
So my friends let me make a couple applications for us. First, take every opportunity to plead for mercy. Don't delay. Secondly, in view of God's mercy and love, make your requests as bold as David. Pray that God would blot out all of your sins and transgressions. Lastly, having received freedom from the liability of sin also walk in the freedom from the dominion of sin as well. (Romans 5:6; 6:14-15)