March 26

Have mercy…wash away all my iniquity”

Scripture: Psalm 51:1-2

 1 Have mercy on me, O God,
       according to your unfailing love;
       according to your great compassion
       blot out my transgressions.

 2 Wash away all my iniquity
       and cleanse me from my sin.

Reader: This is the word of the Lord.   Response: Thanks be to God.

Some thoughts:
What words of pleading. Mercy is not something to be assumed nor guaranteed. The one seeking such is completely subservient to the ruler, his master’s wishes.  Control of the situation is gone. Having been responsible for plotting and carrying out a murder in order to cover up his own sin, King David pours out this confession to God. In pleading for mercy, he appeals to God’s own character of unfailing love and great compassion. Though David was guilty of a treacherous crime, his past walk with God had shown him God’s character first hand. His past relationship with God compelled him to turn again to his God, knowing that is what he needed to do. It is to this character of God that he appeals in three different ways. He asked to have his sin dealt with; blot out my transgressions. A blotter absorbs the liquid into itself. Jesus absorbed David’s and our sins into himself and became our sin. He who knew no sin, became sin; took our sin into himself. Second, David asked God to “wash away all my iniquity.” The result was that his and our sin are gone from us. Third, the sin itself was to be cleansed from me. Because of Christ’s action, we are pure before God. There was no blame, no excuse, no “mistake” here. David’s words were “my transgressions,” “my iniquity”, and “my sin.”  He took full ownership. In an almost incomprehensible way, we see this “unfailing love” and “great compassion” in this Psalm as Jesus’ embraces the hard wood of the cross in taking sole ownership of all of our sins and the sins of the whole world. There is no sin of yours or mine that Jesus has not carried. As a result, God has shown us mercy and washed away all our sins.  Thanks be to God!

Music:  “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus”  You’ll get tired of me saying this. DON”T MISS THIS!  This is a glorious setting from believers in one of the Slavic countries. It’s in English but all the comments are in a language I don’t know! Thank you Simon Khorolskiy!

Prayer: Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid. Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Christ, our Lord. Amen. ―BCP

Update 2019-03-26:
In reading today’s Lenten Devotional, I want to clarify something that should have been much clearer. This is the portion from today I want to comment further on.
 “Jesus absorbed David’s and our sins into himself and became our sin. He who knew no sin, became sin; took our sin into (should be  “upon”) himself. Second, David asked God to “wash away all my iniquity.” The result was that his and our sin are gone from us.”  
Understand, Jesus was not a sinner hanging on the cross. The part of our sin he took was the punishment, the wrath of God directed toward our sin. Just like the sacrificial lambs in the OT, they didn’t take the sin of the person, but bore the punishment and paid the penalty for the sin by their own death. He paid the penalty for sin in full. In that sense, it was once and for all finished, hence his words from the cross, “It is finished!” The last sentence of the devotional above is poorly expressed! (Needed another edit Sharp!)