Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

Lord, Have Mercy

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

14th August 2011

As human beings we tend to be self-centred and self-absorbed. This often causes us to be more preoccupied with what we want than with what we need.

Our deepest need is not deliverance from our problems but forgiveness for our sins.

This was clearly demonstrated by Jesus when a paralysed man was brought to Him for healing:

“Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” (Matthew 9:1–2)

This was something the psalmist understood in Psalm 130.

“Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD; Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy”. (V.1–2)

The thought underlying the word ‘depths’ is that of a place where you can get a foothold, as when one is standing on a rock on a shoreline when stormy winds are blowing and one struggles to maintain balance.

Now if you are in a situation where you are about to slip and a storm is beating against you, what do you cry for?

Help!

But that is not what the psalmist cries for.

His cry is for mercy, because,

“If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?” (V.3)

The psalmist is more aware of his sin than of his need to be helped out of immediate danger.

There is nothing wrong, of course, with crying for help, but the fundamental cry of the human heart ought always to be for mercy.

It should not be ‘God deliver me’, but ‘God forgive me’.

What the psalmist was able to do was to see God as He was, the Holy One of Israel.

And in seeing God as He was meant he was able to better see himself as he was – more in need of mercy than deliverance.

Our trouble is that whenever we are overwhelmed or engulfed by disasters or adversities, we cry more to be delivered than for forgiveness for the sins of self-protection, self-interest and self-concern.

When we see God as He is, holy and undefiled, the issues quickly change.

Our first cry then is not ‘O Lord, deliver me’, but ‘O Lord, have mercy’.

When this becomes our cry we see that,

“…with [the Lord] there is forgiveness…” (V.4)

And in His unfailing love (V.7) He will redeem us from all our sins (V.7-8).

Have a good week crying out to the Lord for mercy.

Pastor Barry

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