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Have Mercy Upon Me, O God

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Background Text

& 12 Reading Questions
What time of year does the passage take place?
Spring (2 sam. 11:1)
Why was Bathsheba bathing on the roof?
Purifying herself after period. (11:4)
What is the name of the husband of Bathsheba?
Uriah the Hittite (11:3)
Why didn’t Uriah lay with his wife?
Who conspired with David to kill Uriah?
Joab (11:15 & 22)
Who did the Lord send to speak to David about what he had done?
Nathan (12:1)
What was David’s response to the story told by Nathan?
He was angry! (12:5-6)
What does Nathan tell David about he and Bathsheba’s baby?
It will die. (12:14)
What is the name of the second child conceived by David and Bathsheba?
Solomon (12:24)

Lesson Text:

Psalm 51 NRSV
To the leader. A Psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. 1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment. 5 Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me. 6 You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. 14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance. 15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased. 17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, 19 then you will delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
psalm 51
Group 1- Verses 1-11 & Group 2- Verses 12-19


What event in the life of David occasioned the writing of this psalm?
What does David do in the very beginning of this psalm?
Upon what attribute of God is David relying as he pleads with Him?
Since David had sinned against not only Uriah, but also Bathsheba and Joab, how do you explain the statement of David in verse four?
To what does David refer in verse five?
How does David describe the forgiveness of sins?
What is the fruit of repentance in a believer? (Vv. 12-15)
What did David know that the Pharisees of Jesus’ day did not? (See: )
Matthew 12:7 NRSV
7 But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.
What are the sacrifices God wants and accepts? What does this mean?
For what is David praying in verse 18 and 19? (Cf. )
2 Samuel 12:12–14 NRSV
12 For you did it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.” 13 David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan said to David, “Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child that is born to you shall die.”


What message of hope and assurance is there in this psalm for us today?
Adapted from Jeff Asher’s study on The Psalms of David
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