Introduction: Have you ever wished that the police were
around to give some speeder a ticket? How about a ticket for
someone who failed to stop at a stop sign? On the other
hand, when the police stop you are you hoping for mercy?
Isn’t that the way it is in life generally? We see others
sin and we want justice. This is especially true when the
rich and powerful sin, and it is a major sin! But when it is
our sin we want mercy. Our study in Psalms this week is
about mercy. Not simply mercy for ordinary sins, but mercy
for a rich and powerful man committing some of the most
serious sins. Let’s plunge into Psalms and learn more about
the full picture of God’s love and mercy!

I. Steadfast Love – and Danger

A. Read Psalm 136:1-6. How is the power of God
described in these verses? (He is the Lord of all,
the God over other gods, and the Creator of the
heavens and earth. He is the supreme power in the

1. Notice that every statement starts out “give
thanks” and ends with “His steadfast love
endures forever.” Do you think of powerful
people as having “steadfast love?” (We
generally think of the rich and powerful as
being selfish, and not being loving.)

a. Is that why the psalmist starts out “give
thanks?” We should be grateful that the
usual attitude that we see with humans
does not exist with our God.)

b. Or do you think he has a different reason?

B. Read Psalm 136:10-15. Wait a minute! Is it
“steadfast love” to kill the firstborn of every
family in Egypt? How about drowning Pharaoh and
his army? By “army” we are talking about sons,
fathers, and husbands.

1. I have encountered Bible teachers who claim
that this destruction of the Egyptians is
inconsistent with the love of God. They say
that an earthquake, or some natural movement
of the earth, caused the Red Sea to move as it
did to save the Hebrews and kill the
Egyptians. Is that consistent with this psalm?
(The argument about natural disasters is
silly. The first verses of Psalm 136 say that
God is the absolute power of the universe. The
targets are so precise this cannot be chance.
And even if it were, nature is controlled by

2. What is the lesson about God’s mercy and His
steadfast love? (He shows mercy and steadfast
love to those who choose Him. Pharaoh was in
rebellion against God.)

a. Is this a model for our mercy? Or does our
demand for the arrest of speeders except
for us show that we are untrustworthy

II. Steadfast Love – and Sin

A. Read Psalm 51:1. Notice the timing of this Psalms.
What has just happened? (Nathan has just confronted
David with his sin of adultery and premeditated

B. Read 2 Samuel 12:1-5 and 2 Samuel 12:7-9. What does
King David say is justice when he hears a story
about someone else who did what he did? (David
exclaimed that person deserved to die! It made
David angry.)

1. Is David blind to his own sin? Are we blind
to our own sins?

C. Read Psalm 51:2-4. David now says that “he knows”
his sins. Will God confront us with our sins so
that we “know them?” (God used Nathan the prophet
to confront David. I think the Holy Spirit
confronts us with our sins.)

1. Notice that David also says that his sin is
“ever before me.” At the same time the Bible
Knowledge Commentary says that Nathan
confronted David about a year after the sin.
Had David rationalized his sin before Nathan
approached him?

D. Look again at Psalm 51:4. Is it true that David
sinned only against God? Note that David stresses
that his sin is “only” against God. (David’s sin
killed Uriah, damaged David’s family, and set a bad
example for the country. But sin is only against
God and we should confess our sins to God. We
should try to make things right with those we have
injured, but the sin is against God alone.)

E. Read Psalm 51:5-7. David says that he was
“conceived in sin” and “brought forth in iniquity.”
Are we born with an inclination to sin? Are we
sinful when we are born? (If David is making a
theological point, we are born sinful.)

1. What is another conclusion we could reach from
what David said? That David is not at fault
because he was born sinful?

2. If David is not at fault, who is at fault?
(Some might say, “God,” but look at verse 6
which says that David knows God delights in
truth and “teaches wisdom in the secret
heart.” I think David is simply saying that he
is rotten to the core and God wants to change

F. Look again at Psalm 51:7. What is David’s view of
righteousness by faith? (God is the one who makes
us righteous.)

G. Read Psalm 51:9-12. Is David only looking to be
declared righteous? Does he seek mercy only for the
forgiveness of his sins? (No. He wants a deep
clean. He wants the Holy Spirit to renew a “right
spirit” within him. He wants joy and a “willing

1. Compare this with how some view the doctrine
of righteousness by faith. I once heard
someone say about sin, “That is okay, God will
forgive.” The goal is not to simply get a
pass, the goal is a changed heart so you will
not want to sin. The goal is not to continue
to “enjoy” sin secure in the knowledge of
coming forgiveness.)

H. Read Psalm 51:13. What is David’s goal for the
future? Do you have that same goal? (He wants to
bring glory to God by helping others turn to God.)

III. Steadfast Love and a Better Life

A. Read Psalm 130:3. Who is in need of God’s mercy?
(Everyone. No one can stand.)

B. Read Psalm 103:2-4. What will God do to our
iniquity? (He will forgive our sins and redeem our
“life from the pit.”

C. Read Psalm 103:5. Is God limited to forgiving us
from sin? (No. It says that our youth is

1. Does that make sense? What is the connection
between being forgiven and youth? (When we
understand that our sins are forgiven, it
makes us feel great again.)

2. Look back at Psalm 103:3. Do you think that
forgiveness of sins also heals our diseases?
(I believe, and have read, that there is a
connection between mental attitudes and
disease. What is sure is that God will make
us completely new, mind and body, when we are
with Him in heaven.)

D. Read Psalm 103:6. Are you feeling oppressed? If so,
what will God do for you when you turn to Him? (He
brings righteousness and justice for the

E. Read Psalm 103:7. Why refer to Moses when we are
discussing what God does to make our lives better?
(Contemplate all the miracles God worked in
enabling Moses to bring the Hebrew slaves out of

1. What is the dire lesson in that story?
(Despite seeing all the miracles, the people
still did not trust God. See Deuteronomy 1.)

F. Read Psalm 103:13-14. If you love your children, if
your parents love you, how should you view God’s
attitude toward you? (He is like a loving parent.
This includes the understanding a parent has of how
children need to be protected because they are not
yet mature enough to face the world.)

G. Friend, danger is all around. We all carry the
danger of our predisposition to sin. God, in His
mercy, rescues us from danger, and from our sinful
nature. In mercy, if we trust Him, he will bless
our lives. Will you turn to God right now? Will
you ask the Holy Spirit to help you trust God in
every situation?

IV. Next week: Wisdom for Righteous Living.

Copr. 2024, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this
link: Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study.