Have Mercy, O Lord

by David & Stephen Olford

David and Stephen OlfordText: "Have mercy on me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me: for my bones are troubled" (Ps. 6:2).

Thought: David wrote the psalm after he had emerged from an illness which threatened to prove fatal. During this period of being laid aside, he was made aware of his sins and of God's chastening hand upon him. For the believer, the time of trouble is:

I. A Time of Discipline: "O Lord, do not rebuke in your angermy soul is greatly troubled, but you, O Lord how long?" (vv. 1-3). Divine discipline is one of the evidences of God's love for His children. It is not clear from this psalm as to how God's word of correction came to David, but it is quite obvious that He had spoken to him severely concerning failure and wrong in his life. Today God speaks to us through the divine revelation we hold in our hands-the Bible. If we fail to respond to this Word of correction, God has to use other means to bring us to a sense of our sin and need of forgiveness; but in all this discipline we must remember that "whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth" (Heb. 12:6).

II. A Time of Distress: "Return, O Lord, deliver me!My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows old because of all my enemies" (vv.4-7). These four verses describe in vivid terms the distress of a truly broken soul. David was made to realize that the Lord had turned away from him because of condoned sin in his life, and so he prays that threefold prayer, "Returndeliversave" (v. 4). It is a solemn thing to have failed so miserably that the Lord has cut off the life in judgment and punishment. The very thought of this distressed David the king. Such was the conviction that gripped his soul that there followed tearful contrition and he had to exclaim, "Mine eye is grown red and feeble through weeping" (v.7). 

 III. A Time of Deliverance: "Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquitylet them return and be ashamed suddenly" (vv.8-10). The psalmist rejoices in the fact that his tears of sorrow and suffering availed in the presence of God and that his prayer was heard. So he visualizes the moment of his vindication when all his enemies, who brought him into sin and failure, are ashamed and sore vexed. He predicts the day when their doom shall come upon them suddenly.  

Thrust: How wonderful to know that even though God has to discipline us and bring us into great distress in order to show us the nature and measure of our sin, there is, notwithstanding, this delivering vindication and victory to all whose heart is set on God!

David Olford teaches expository preaching at Union University's
Stephen Olford Center in Memphis, Tennessee

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