Have Mercy on Me


 1  Have mercy on me,[1] O God, 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! 3  For I know my transgressions, 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.

7  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; 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 right[2] 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. 13  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, 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. 18  Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; 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.


Most us have been in the situation where we avoid dealing with our wrongs, particularly when they relate to people in our lives. There are many tricks to avoid confronting our wrongs, taking responsibility, and addressing those whom we have wronged. We are also all too familiar with the wrong ways to address an issue when we finally do come around to addressing it. We have seen how trying to defend our actions or blaming others or trying to get forgiven quickly and move on without properly addressing the issue does not really work.

In our Psalm today, David is giving us a lesson in repentance. Scholars agree that, David wrote this Psalm after Nathan the prophet confronted him about his sins of lust, adultery, and murder. You can read all about his encounter in 2 Samuel 12.

David’s first lesson in repentance is that of hope (vv1-2), hope that says there is forgiveness for those who have sinned, and this is based on God’s covenant love and mercy and his promise to wash sinners clean (Isaiah 1:18).

David’s second lesson in repentance is that of owning our sin (vv3-4). David acknowledges that he has sinned and most importantly realises that even though he wronged Bathsheba and Uriah, ultimately, he sinned against God, whose law he broke. Therefore, David confesses his sin to God, the God who is faithful and just to forgive his sins and cleanse him from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)

David’s third lesson in repentance is that of not trying to find excuses (vv5-6). David says, even though I know that the source of my sin is a fallen, sinful disposition, which I have had from conception, I have no excuse because what you require of me is also plain to me, you teach it to me in the inner man and it is your delight that I obey it.

David’s fourth lesson in repentance is that we must rely on God to change us (vv7-12). David petitions the Lord to wash him, to make him happy again for his sin has broken him, to restore to him the privileges of being a child of God, that he may once again enjoy being in God’s presence and enjoy the comfort and joy of having His Spirit.

David’s fifth and final lesson in repentance is that we must show gratitude by not only refraining from sinning and serving the Lord ourselves but by teaching others to do the same (vv13-19).

This Psalm can often be viewed as dark and gloomy for it represents a bleak time in David’s life and we too tend to go to it when we have been brought down by the reality of our sin. However, this Psalm is filled with hope and promise, it is a Psalm that we must run to when we are down and broken. This Psalm teaches us to run to God when we have sinned and not away from Him. It teaches us to go to our Father and say “Have mercy upon me, O God”.

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Thank you.

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