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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2/17/10- Ash Wednesday Psalm 51, Lk 18:13 A Cry for Mercy

2/17- Ash Wednesday  This is a small twist in our "Jesus in the Gospels" blog.  We'll focus for the next forty days (Lent) on verses that will inspire us, help us, and verses on healing and forgiveness. Who doesn't need God's mercy and help every day?  But this blog will be a little different from the printed Lenten devotionals I wrote in that it will be updated and re-written daily, the pictures will be mostly in color, and John Calvin gets a 40 day break.  I also will try to include gospel writings each day.

(David and Nathaniel; 1672 Scheits)

Psalm 51:1-8

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. 7 cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Luke 18:12,13 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'
13"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

Thoughts: This Psalm was written in response to the prophet’s confrontation of David when he had an affair with Bathsheba and had her husband killed. But this Psalm is well liked and used because it touches a raw nerve of our sin and guilt. We want God to wash us, cleanse us, and this is part of our healing as human beings. Healing is not just physical, but there is a need for spiritual cleansing as well. So sometimes Jesus will tell someone looking for physical healing that “their sins are forgiven.”  This cry from mercy from David was echoed by Jesus when he commended the tax collector for saying, "Lord, have mercy on me a sinner" over the Pharisee who bragged to God about all he did.  The first step we can take toward God's help is to come to Him.  Healing comes from the Great physician especially when we seek His aid.  Deep in our hearts is a longing for forgiveness and mercy.  David and Jesus show we can find this in God.

Prayer: Have mercy on me, O God. Wash me and I will be whiter than snow.

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