“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions” Psalm 51:1
Any Star Wars fans out there? Remember the opening scenes of Episode IV? After a laser battle between a little spaceship (the good guys) and the ominous Imperial Star Destroyer (the bad guys), we see Princess Leia and her loyal fighters quickly overpowered by Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers. The situation is dire and our heroine has time only to pass a message on to her faithful robot R2D2, who is then jettisoned to safety on a nearby planet, into the hands of Luke Skywalker who discovers Leia’s message: “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope!” The message is repeated over and over: “Help me . . . you’re my only hope!”
That simple little phrase encapsulates David’s plea in the first verse of Psalm 51. After fighting a year-long battle against the forces of darkness in his own heart, he had reached a point of desperation. Finally, he admitted that he could not overcome the guilt of his sin by his own cleverness, charm, or position. Nor could his inner turmoil be quieted by a clever spin from a PR department. In the face of the mess he had made of his life—adultery, deception, murder—he was left with only one hope: a plea for mercy from God who held all the cards regarding David’s cleansing.
I have to tell you, whether it’s the overwhelming force of life’s struggles or the guilt of our sin, our only hope is that God in His mercy will forgive and deliver us. As David writes in Psalm 42:11, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? . . . Put your hope in God!”
The good news for David—and for those of us who need to come to this same tipping point in our walk with Christ—is that our hope is never misplaced when we place it entirely and completely in God. And our confidence in His willingness to bestow delivering mercy is grounded, as David said, in the fact that God is a God of unfailing love and great compassion. We don’t need more meds or self-help positive spins on life when we are beyond ourselves. We need God! David said it best when he penned the words of Psalm 25:3, “No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame.”
In the midst of the turmoil of life and in the mire of our own sin, one simple prayer offers us the promise of rescue and deliverance. “Help me, Lord Jesus. You’re my only hope!”
- Where do you go for strength and solutions when you are in need? When was the last time you turned to God to find help in your time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16)?
- What characteristics of God can you list to give you confidence that, when you are in need, He can be counted on?
- Read Psalms 25:1-22; 42:1-11, and 51:1-19 prayerfully, and claim their promises for yourself.