Christian, Psalms

Have Mercy, Lord

Psalm 51:1-3

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

I can only begin to imagine how David felt when Nathan left the room.  He had just been told that God had seen his sin with Bathsheba. David thought that he covered it up pretty well.  I mean, after all, Uriah was killed in battle.  As far as anyone else and he did go and sleep with his wife while he was home on leave. So her pregnancy wouldn’t be too much of a shock. But Nathan said those words – “You are the man”.  David’s heart must have sunk deep down – way deep down. And over the next few hours I’m sure the grief mounted before he started to pen these words. It’s hard to say whether he wrote this all out at one time or if it came pieces.

It comes as no surprise to me that the very first words out of his mouth would be “Have mercy upon me oh God”. We’ve seen countless times already David crying out for the mercy of God. David knew that God is the God of mercy. There was no doubt in his mind. And there was no doubt in his mind that he needed mercy right now. He had taken a woman in adultery and had her husband killed so that he could have her. He could have anything and any woman he wanted, but he had to have this one. He needed mercy.

According to your loving kindness, God give me mercy. We have a tendency to think that God is going to be merciful to us according to our sense of mercy.  I think we expect God to do what we want him to do. It doesn’t work that way. God does what He wants to do. And whatever He does is the best for us. When we pray and ask God for mercy according to HIS loving-kindness instead of our own thoughts of what mercy might be in this situation, it’s a different prayer.

For example let’s say I have a financial difficulty and I need money quickly. I pray to God have mercy upon me and help me in this situation. Now according to my own definition of what the answer would be to that prayer, mercy would be somebody showing up at my door, or a check arriving in the mail for the money that I need to take care of the situation. But God’s form of mercy in that situation might be to keep my car from breaking down when it’s due to break down, or it might be to keep me healthy so I don’t to go to the doctor and I’ll save money on that, or it might be that I’ll get offered overtime at work. You see we expect God to do it our way but God has His own way. I think sometimes that’s why we don’t recognize the mercy of God when it comes in.

“According to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions”. The word transgression means pretty much what we think it does.  it’s the Greek word Pesha and a few other translations of the word could be a breach of trust or rebellion. All sin is rebellion against God. So this transgression of David’s is not just against Bathsheba and Uriah, but it is against God.  Do you realize that when you sin against someone else, it’s a sin against God?  If I lie to someone, or deceive them, or hurt them, the transgression against them is also a transgression against God!  This scripture is one that shows that truth.  The other portion of scripture I can think of that really stresses this is found in Matthew   25:31-46.  Here Jesus teaches that if we do something nice for someone, it’s the same as doing it for Him.  And if wed refuse to do something nice, we refuse to do it for Him.  So the next time you’re tempted to be mean to someone, or to “transgress” against someone, remember – God is watching,

David is bold enough to ask God to blot out his transgression – get rid of it make it so it can’t be seen. God did not do that.  It turns out that the baby was very sick after he was born and David mourned and wept over him while the baby was still alive.   It was a very public thing. David kept asking the Lord to heal the child and God did not. When the child died, David stopped mourning.  Everybody asked him why because usually people mourn after the child dies. David said what can I do now?  While he was still alive perhaps God would have healed him. David’s prayer was according to the multitude of God’s tender mercies. I’m sure this didn’t go the way David would have wanted it to.

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Again David ask God to wash him completely from his iniquity and cleanse him from his sin. David realized that God was capable of doing this. We need to have this same prayer. We know that Jesus wiped away all of our son at the cross. The gospel says if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive them and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1st John 1:9). It doesn’t change the fact that we have to ask him.

In verse 3 he acknowledges his transgression. He makes himself accountable. We live in an age of people that don’t feel like they’re accountable or responsible for their own actions. It’s always somebody else’s fault or somebody made me do it. People don’t take responsibility for their own actions anymore. Well I’m sorry but you need to acknowledge your own transgressions. When you do something wrong, it is your fault. You cannot point the finger at somebody else and blame them when you do the wrong things you do.  The sooner we take responsibility for our own actions the closer we will be to God. This is why David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). It’s not because he was a perfect man – far from it. It’s because he took responsibility when he did wrong, he repented, he asked for forgiveness and he just went right on praising God. This is the heart we all need to have in our walk with the Lord. Ready to repent and ready to take responsibility for our own actions.  We must never try to place the blame on somebody else. God wants us to be honest with him. and with ourselves.  If you don’t think a sinful act is completely your fault, you can not truly repent from it.  When you take ownership of your sin, as David did, then you can truly repent.  And this is what God  desires from you.  True repentance.



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