Once again in the psalms, we find David navigating the loving and judgmental characteristics of God. In Psalm 25, he is crying for God’s merciful nature (verses 7-11) and in Psalm 26, he asks again for mercy (however in a much more colorful way, haha) when the “sentences” are handed down (verse 1).
I don’t know about you, but I find reconciling mercy and judgement to be a very hard thing. How can God seem so universally loving but at the same time so picky? Why should David have the right to ask God for favor in the face of judgement (especially with all the weird, icky stuff he gets into later on in his life), and those same lying sinners (Psalm 26:4-5) not be given that right? You can make valid arguments that are beautiful and well thought out (David is recognizing his need for grace, without judgement true mercy can not exist, etc.), but time and again the God I find David praying to seems both absolutely loving and absolutely terrifying.
Without judgement, true mercy isn’t mercy. I’ll try to keep this short: in Mike McHargue’s (Science Mike) book Finding God in the Waves, he describes the areas of the brain that activate and what benefits those parts of the brain give when our view of God is either founded in love or founded in some form of fear (similar to an enraged parent). His argument shows more of the benefits of viewing God as purely loving, but I wonder if David is challenging us to come to some sort of balance, some sort of tension. That, while we can all agree that God is love, we have to also marvel at a God that is completely Holy.