Advent Message #1 Psalm 51 Have mercy on me!

Have Mercy On Me
Help me to know your unfailing love!

Psalm 51:1-6

† IHS †

David’s Scenario

The pastor descends, and heads straight toward a member of the church.  The look on his face is serious, there is no humor in his eyes.

He walks up to one of the most respected leaders of the church, the man respected for his faith.  He zeroes in on him, heads straight at him, and as he stops, he reveals to the man that he knows about that specific sin.  The sin that was serious enough for the people to take up stones and kill him.  The sin which didn’t just break a commandment, but shattered several of them.

He calls him out on it, in front of everyone

What happened to David, happens all over again.

Except that it happens to Tom. Or Al, or Doug, or Wanda..

I want each of you to think how David felt in the first reading, as Nathan revealed to the world David’s sin.  The sin he thought no one knew.  The sin that ate him, that continued to eat at him.

What if tonight, instead of David’s sin, it was yours that was revealed.

What terror would you feel, what pain?

Even though we are looking at the Psalm during this advent, we can’t understand the strength of David’s plea for mercy, we can’t understand how desperate His cry to God, without hearing the depth of despair, as David’s sin was found revealed not just before God, but before all.

How Can this Be?
It is in the aftermath of this scene, that David writes these words,

Have mercy on me, o God, because of your unfailing love!
Have mercy on me, I am a sinner, I am a wretch.

He cannot deny it.  He cannot simply say, no, I’m good with God.  Nope, don’t worry pastor, that Confession thing, hearing you tell me I am forgiven, it’s not a big deal.  It’s the other people that you have to worry about.

You know, those that rip their neighbor’s off, those who are sexually immoral, those who lie and cheat and gossip.  That’s for them, not for me.

David’s sin is laid out.  Undeniable, horrid, sickening.

It would still make every headline today.

You are the man.
You are the woman.
You’ve sinned.

And revealing that sin, in a way you can’t deny, in a way you have to confess, is part of the healing.  It is why Luther and the early reformers didn’t get rid of confession, either public of private.

Because we know in our plea for mercy, that it will be answered.

Just as David’s was, just as Moses’ was, just as Peter’s was.

Just as Tom and Al and my plea’s for mercy will be answered.

Hear David’s words again,

Have mercy on me, o God, because of your unfailing love!

That is what Advent is about, learning to depend on God’s unfailing love.  Learning to cry out what has been called the Jesus Prayer, Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.

Crying it out, knowing the heart of God, knowing the heart revealed at the manger and the cross, as God comes into the word to show us that mercy,

Crying out, not based on anything but the unfailing love of God.  For that is our only refuge when we come face to face with our sin. When we realize how wrong it is, and that we can’t fix it.

To do as David would continue to pray,

Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.

2  Wash me clean from my guilt.

Purify me from my sin.

3  For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.

4  Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.

5  For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.

6  But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there.

7  Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:1-7 (NLT)

A prayer of despair, a prayer of recognizing what we had done, a prayer of faith, knowing the heart of God.

The heart of God that answered David, and answers you and I

“Yes, you have sinned, but I have forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin..”



About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on December 3, 2015, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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