If you ever tried to act justly, meaning to do what is right and just in the eyes of God, you know that you will fail. Sure, there are times of victory and zeal and sacrifice, but because we are sinners, there will also be times of defeat, discouragement and selfishness. It is in those moments, we realize how much we need God’s mercy.
King David is someone who acted justly for a good portion of his reign. He was praised for being a just king and Israel enjoyed many years of blessing under his rule. But on one spring day, he fell. He sinned. He committed adultery and then murder to cover up his sin. When Nathan confronts him of his sin, he throws himself at the mercy of God and Psalm 51, one of the most well known repentance prayers, was born.
This crying out for mercy was not a one time event. God’s justice caused David to reap the consequences of his sins throughout the rest of his lifetime, specifically in the area of his family. One of his sons, Amnon, rapes his daughter Tamar. Absalom, another son, exacts revenge and kills Amnon. And Absalom wants to kill his father and claim his place on the throne.
This pattern of acting justly, failing miserably and claiming God’s mercy was a pattern that David underwent many times, not only for his own life but also on behalf of his sons. And the fruit of such a life was a humble walking with his God.
As David is fleeing from the palace, he is walking toward the Mount of Olives, his head covered symbolizing his repentant heart. What must he be thinking? All his failures being met by the mercy of God, prayers of repentance for how his life has turned out, prayers of mercy on behalf of his son…
He knew that God would be totally justified to kill him. He is not sure if he is still in the Lord’s favor. He doesn’t know if he will see the ark ever again. He has humbly accepted God’s will for his life, whatever the outcome.
The Mount of Olives is where Jesus would centuries later weep over the sins of Jerusalem. It is where Jesus had humbly accepted God’s will that he must go to the cross.
Have you been to your personal Mount of Olives where you humbly submitted to the will of God? May your life and mine be characterized by acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God.