The Prayer of the Penitent
Psalm 51:1-19
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving kindness…

I. THE GUILT OF SIN. Titles of lighter meaning have been substituted in its place — "vice" as though it were merely an evil against self alone; "crime " or an offence against society. All such subterfuges are simply a glossing over of what is a moral evil in its relations to God. You cannot touch man without touching God; cannot wrong him without wronging God.

II. THE DIVINE FORGIVENESS, Between blinding one's eyes against the guilt of sin and seeking infinite mercy to overcome such guilt, there is almost an infinite remove. It exalts the Divine character to know His readiness to forgive sin, while at the same time God can be justified when he speaks, and be clear when He judges.

III. THE NEW HEART. There must be more than the outward cleansing of the cup to make it clean. All things must become new in the new creature in Christ Jesus.


1. He seeks first the personal rest freed from the goadings of his sin. He longs for the joy he once had, but which is now lost. He seeks a strength other than his own.

2. He recognizes the connection between the character of the leaders and the followers in the service of God. "Then will I teach transgressors," etc.

(David O. Mears.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: {To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.} Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

WEB: Have mercy on me, God, according to your loving kindness. According to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.

The Prayer for Mercy
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