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HAVE MERCY, O LORD!
Flowing from David's heart in response to the prophet, Nathan, revealing David's sin and declaring God's sentence, this psalm is perhaps the best framework for the penitent heart. Take note of how David laid out his plea to God for mercy and forgiveness.
Verses 1-2 ask for mercy and cleansing; verses 3-4 acknowledge his sin and God's right, as the only righteous judge, to condemn him; verses 5-6 confess his sinful nature; and verses 7-9 rehearse the process of cleansing. In verses 10-11 David asks for a fresh start and pleads not to be cast away. He then moves to the anticipated results of such a renewal in verses 12-13 and his intention to help others find forgiveness, as well.
In verses 14-17 David reveals his willingness to do whatever God requires of him and his understanding the heart of true worship. He says:
"For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heartâ€”
These, O God, You will not despise."
This prophetic word flies in the face of the Old Covenant Law and tradition, presaging the era of grace, where the sacrifice of bulls and rams would no longer be required. In the concluding two verses (18-19), David extols the extension of God's loving kindness to all Israel and his intention to lead his people aright from that day forward.
Have you failed in your walk and failed the Father? Turn back to Him in repentance; His mercies are new every morning. Take David's example and call out to Him; though just and righteous, our Father is also full of mercy and grace. To the penitent heart He will give heed. He will renew and restore you.
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