Have Mercy on Me

Psalm 51.1=12

 

Because it matters, thatís why.It matters what happens.It matters what happens to you.And it matters what happens to the people with whom you live: your family, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers.

It all matters because God cares.God cares about you, about you and these.It matters what happens to you and all the people with whom you live because God cares about you and them, all of us.God cares and, yes, even loves you and loves them and loves us all.

Because it matters, thatís why.Because it all matters to God is the reason why the person who composed the fifty first Psalm prays to God, cries out saying, Have mercy on me, O God.

Have mercy on me, O God.Blot out my transgressions.Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.

This is a very courageous prayer.It takes a lot of courage, a lot of guts, to own up, to Ďfess up like that.

For I know my transgression.It takes a lot of courage to say that.And my sin is ever before me.That takes guts.

Adam didnít have it.Adam, the first man, didnít have what it takes.And neither did Eve, the first woman.

After they had eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, after they had done what they were not to do, they ran off and hid in the bushes.

They ran off and hid in the bushes, and God comes a-lookiní.Adam, where are you?Whereíd you go?And Adam from behind a bush, Well, I heard you coming and I was afraid.I was ashamed because Iím naked.Thatís why Iím behind this bush.And God said, Who told you you are naked?Did you eat of the tree I told you not to eat of?

And Adam didnít have the guts, didnít have what it takes.He couldnít say, I.I sinned.Instead, he blames Eve.Itís her fault.He passes the buck.He couldnít say, I.I sinned.

Neither could Eve.What is this that you have done?Well, of course, couldnít be her, either.She couldnít say, I.I sinned.She blames the serpent.The serpent tricked me.

If only they had had the guts, the courageóif only we had the courageóto say, I.I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.Have mercy.Have mercy on me, O God.But they didnít.They ran off and hid themselves in the bushes.Then they passed the buck, wouldnít own up to what they had done.

And their sin, their transgression had consequences.It messed things up.

They messed things up for themselves.The pain of childbirth was increased for Eve.And Adam will have to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow.

They messed things up between themselves and the natural world.Thorns and thistles will grow in the fields.The serpent will strike them and they will strike the serpent.

And things got messed up between them, between Adam and Eve.Eveís desire will be for Adam, but he will lord it over her.All that bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh stuff was out the window, I guess.And thatís messed up.

If only they had had what it takes, the guts to say, I.I have sinned.If only we would have the courage to pray, Have mercy on me, O God.I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.

Our sin, our transgressions have consequences, too.We can sure mess things up for ourselves, can harm ourselves.And we can harm others, our families and friends and neighbors, even those we love.We can mess things up.

And we hide.We hide ourselves off in the bushes, ashamed.God comes looking for us.He calls us by name and asks, Whereíd you go?And then we blame someone or something else.Why, weíll even blame Adam and Eve.Itís there fault.If only they had the courage, the guts . . . Why, we might even pretend that weíve never done anything, never said anything, never messed things up, have never harmed anyone.Maybe we didnít mean to, but still . . . we did.

And it matters.You bet it does.What we do to ourselves and what we do to others, we know it matters.It is why we hide.It is why we make excuses.It is why we pass the blame on down the line.

And God comes a-lookní for us, calling us by name and asking, Where are you?Whereíd you go?

If only we had what it takes.If only we had the guts.Where can we find the courage, the courage to step up to the plate and say, I, I have sinned?I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.Where can we find such courage?

It matters.Yes, it really does matter.What happens to you and what happens to your family, your friends, your neighbors, it all matters.

And it matters because God cares.God cares about you, about you and all of these.God cares and, yes, even loves you and loves them and loves us all.

For instance, Adam and Eve:

God commanded that they should not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day, in the day that you eat of it you shall die.

But they didnít die.I guess you could read this and say they died spiritually.You could.Or you could wonder, could wonder why they were not struck dead.They werenít.Why?

Or this:After they ate what they shouldnít have, Adam and Eve were ashamed, ashamed of their nakedness.What did God do?Saying, maybe, O boy, thatís not good, God made them clothes.God didnít want them running around ashamed all the time.God made some clothes for them.

And so the person who wrote Psalm fifty one steps up to the plate and says, Have mercy on me, O God.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

And what do you think?What do you think God did?And what do you think God will do for you?

Says the Psalmist to God:You desire truth in the inward being.Itís what you want, O God.Therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

And what do you think?What do you think God did?And what do you think God will do for you?

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.Restore to me the joy of your salvation and sustain me in a willing spirit.

And what do you think?What do you think God will do for you?What do you think?

Donít think, donít think you are somehow beyond the pale, that youíre beyond hope and help, your sin is so great.

According to your steadfast love.And it says at Psalm one hundred three:For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is the steadfast love of God for you.

According to your abundant mercy blot out my transgression.And as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgression from us.

Have mercy on us, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out our transgressions.Restore to us all the joy of your salvation.

Neal Kentch, Cottage Way Christian Church, Sacramento, August 2, 2009