Mercy and Grace | Day Four

By: Kate Downing | Desperate for Mercy

Desperate, a word no one wants to be defined by. It’s a word we reserve for insults and “sad situations,” but in reality it is a word that describes us all at some point in our lives. 

I’ve been desperate for water during a long, hot soccer practice. 

I’ve been desperate for help with my homework when the teacher literally never taught us how to do what she assigned!

I’ve been desperate for someone to understand the pain I’ve faced.

And, I’ve been desperate for mercy.

I venture to imagine that you’ve been desperate to at some point of your life. Coming to the point of desperation isn’t fun and it’s never pretty, but it can be important to our survival. 

Today, we are going to look at one man’s desperate plea for mercy. This was a guy who was called “a man after God’s heart.” He killed a giant with a slingshot; he led armies into great battles and won victory after victory. He was the king of a nation, and yet in the face of sin, He was desperate for God’s mercy. 

Before we dive in, take a minute to surrender your heart and mind to the Lord. Lay aside distractions and ask the Lord to speak to you today.

Read Psalm 51:1-3.

Can you hear the desperation in David’s voice as he cries out to the Lord in these verses? Why is he desperate for mercy? Have you heard about the story of David and Bathsheba?  If you have a few minutes, turn over 2 Samuel 11 and read through that chapter.

2 Samuel 11 tells of David, the powerful King of Israel, deciding not to go with his troops into battle and allowing his boredom to lead him to lustful thoughts about his neighbor Bathsheba. He creeped on her and became so consumed with these lustful thoughts that he chose to abuse his power as king, and commanded her to sleep with him. To make matters worse, when he found out she was pregnant, he tried to cover up his sin by murdering her husband and taking her to be his wife before anyone could catch on to what he had done.

Honestly, this story breaks my heart. My heart breaks for Bathsheba and all she had to physically and emotionally go through. And, my heart breaks for David, because he knew better. There were so many times he could have chosen not to sin, and yet he ignored those ways of escape and found himself in the middle of a desperate situation.

In no way do I want to minimize or brush over David’s sin, but I want us to see ourselves in David.  

Which of David’s sins can you honestly admit that you struggle with as well:

  • Pride

  • Laziness

  • Lustful Thoughts

  • Selfishness

  • Refusing to admit wrong

  • Sinning to cover up other sins

You may have never abused or murdered someone like David did. But, the truth is that you and I have struggled with the same sins he did. And, before the Lord, sin is sin. 

Read Romans 3:23. Who does this verse say falls short of God’s glory/perfect standard? 


ALL of us fall short. None of us are perfect! We are all desperately in need of God’s mercy!

Can you quote the definition of mercy? 

Mercy – God NOT giving us what we deserve

David deserved to be killed for all he did to disobey God and hurt others. He understood what he deserved as he wrote Psalm 51. He had become keenly aware of how he had failed God, and he desperately cried out for mercy. 

Have you been there?  Can you relate to David’s desperate cry for mercy? I can. 

When we understand the awfulness of our sin in comparison to the holiness of God, it should lead us to a desperate cry for mercy. 

Read Psalm 51:1-3 again.

In verse 1, what does David say God’s mercy is “according to”?

“Have mercy on me, O God,

According to your ­­­­­­­­­___________________________________________;

According to your ­­______________________   _____________________...”

It is because of God’s unfailing love and great compassion (mercy) that we can cry out to God for mercy in the middle of our sin. David didn’t deserve it and we don’t either, yet because of God’s love and mercy, when we confess our sins before Him, He does not give us what we deserve….death.

Read 1 John 1:9. 

Take the next few minutes to confess your sins before the Lord, knowing that you do not deserve mercy but that God offers it to you nonetheless. Then thank God for His incredible forgiveness!