Listen to My Cry for Mercy

Harry Buis

READ : Psalm 86:3-17

Jesus says there are two ways of trying to approach God. One, like the Pharisee, who tells God about his goodness, thinking God will surely bless such a wonderful person as he. Or like the publican, who cries out, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”

Jesus says it is the latter and not the former who goes home justified, that is, right with God. Like the Pharisee so many people think they have earned the right to God’s blessing, but Isaiah says that our best works are as filthy rags in the sight of God. All we do is tainted by imperfect motives.

The Psalmist knows that he needs God’s mercy, and so, when he prays, that is what he asks for. He uses the word “mercy” three times over in this Psalm.

God is a God of justice. But we need more than justice; we need mercy. On the cross God’s justice and mercy meet. May we see our sin clearly. As a result may we see our need for mercy. Let us ask for it. We will surely receive it.

May we see that God is merciful, welcoming home the wayward Son who has the words “I am not worthy” on his lips.


Father, give us undivided hearts. We plead for mercy, knowing you love to give it. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.