Have Mercy on Me, Oh God!

Mike Johnson

Psalm 51:1-2 says, “Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.”

It is thought that this Psalm was written by David after his sin with Bathsheba.  David was suffering greatly while in this unforgiven state and earnestly desired that God would forgive him.

He started out by asking God for mercy.  The Bible teaches that God is a God of mercy. In Deuteronomy 4:31 Moses pointed out, “(for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.”  Ephesians 2:4 says,  “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,”

But, what is mercy?

  • Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, points out that the Greek word used in Ephesians 2:4 means, ” the outward manifestation of pity; it assumes need on the part of him who receives it, and resources adequate to meet the need on the part of him who shows it.”
  • The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says, “From all the foregoing it will be seen that mercy in God is not merely His pardon of offenders, but His attitude to man, and to the world generally, from which His pardoning mercy proceeds.”

David committed some awful deeds. Not only did he commit adultery, but, to cover up his sin with Bathsheba, he had her husband (Uriah the Hittite) killed. What David did would have been bad for anyone, but David was a divinely appointed King.  God had blessed him so much.  Certainly, he should have served as a better example for his people.

In spite of this, David was very humbly asking God to forgive him.  David recognized that the mercy of God must be granted to him so that he could receive forgiveness.  So, with humility, he asked God for mercy knowing the compassion of God.  In Psalm 51:2, he said, “According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies.”  It is because of God’s “loving kindness” and tender mercies (NASB “compassion) that our sins can be forgiven.

If your sins have been forgiven today, it is because of God’s mercy.  If you have not received forgiveness, God’s mercy will allow you to be forgiven.  God is willing to forgive us today because He is a merciful God, but we must comply with his Will.