I can’t help but think of the sinner in the Bible who shares the same story as the Pharisee who brags about all of his well doing. The Pharisee goes on and on to Jesus about how he gets everything right. The sinner man beats his hand upon his chest, won’t even lift up his head to look at Jesus, and cries out to Jesus for mercy because he is so well aware of his sin. Which one of these does Jesus respect and honor? Which one does He bestow His mercy upon? Which one does He hold up to us for an example of what the Lord desires? Oh, the Lord is near to the humble. He is compassionate upon the remorseful. He answers the cry of the contrite. He seeks the one who is sorrowful over his or her sin. He forgives the one who confesses his sin. He is close to the brokenhearted.
I am humbled, deeply, by my sin. I am shocked at what I am still capable of. I am sorrowful over the thoughts I still think, the words I still speak, the complaining I still find myself uttering, the actions I still take, the falls I still have, the sin I still return to, the shortcomings I still find in myself, all the ways and times in which I go backward instead of forward, the ability I still have to do what is wrong instead of what is right, and the desperation I have to learn to do life God’s way instead of my way, the yearning I have to stop bowing down to the devil’s temptations and to humble myself before the Lord and be wholly surrendered to Him.
And then, then I wake the next morning as I have this very day, with darkness still filling the sky, with cold outside declaring winter is not yet done, my mind still waking, my eyes just open, my thoughts just beginning, and I fall down before the Lord inside my heart. I beat my hand upon my chest, in my heart I do, and I cry out to the Lord. Not to tell him that I am a sinner still falling in all sorts of ways I wish I would not. I have already done that. I have already cried out to him for forgiveness. This time, I cry out in my heart for a different reason altogether. And this time, I do not keep my head lowered to the ground like the sinner man who cried out to God for mercy.
This time, I look up. And I behold the beauty of the Lord, and I set my eyes and heart upon a face that never stops loving. A God whose mercy does not run out. A Creator who sent His very own son to the cross to bear the wrath and judgment for my sin. A Father who is stern and tough when He needs to be because He is holy and just and righteous and perfect, and yet a Father whose love never ends. How, then, can I possibly praise Him enough? How, then, can I ever thank Him sufficiently? That He, Lord, would be a lifter up of my head, a healer of my heart, Creator, Father, Lord, and so much more, who would shed His love upon my heart and dole out His mercy upon me from His very throne. On this new morning.
Oh, how His mercy is new every morning. New day, new mercy. New hope. I could have risen this morning devastated over my wrongdoing yesterday. Instead, I arise with a seed of hope. It is not too late. I am not too far gone. I have not sinned my way into a land of no return. For I set my hope upon my Lord, I set my faith in Him my King, I hold out my arms to my Father to pick me up from the fall I have taken, and then I take His hand and get ready for my first steps of this new day. And I begin a new day of learning to walk by faith. For sight would only take me into the ugly pit of despair over my ever falling short of His glory. But faith will take me to a new place, the place the Lord is calling. That place in Him. In Christ. My Savior. My King. My Lord. My God. My friend. My Redeemer. Healer. My hope.
Oh God of mercy. May I praise you not merely in a word of thanks. But may I praise you in my heart that sings of your mercy. And in my thoughts, my words, my actions, this very day, may I live a life today and every day after to come a life of praise. A life that declares my thanksgiving and praise for your love and mercy. And, when I fall once more, may I come running to your Throne of Grace to once again receive your mercy and then declare my praise.
New day. New mercy. My God!
“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 NASB
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[a]
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV
“He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayeda thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18: 9-14 ESV
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a rightb spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.” Psalm 51 ESV
Many are rising against me;
2 many are saying of my soul,
there is no salvation for him in God.
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
4 I cried aloud to the LORD,
and he answered me from his holy hill.
I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
your blessing be on your people!” Psalm 3 ESV