Mercy For Today by Jonathan Parnell– Book Review

If you’re anything like me, you can recite (or better yet sing) parts of Psalm 51 by heart.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore unto me, the joy of your salvation and uphold me with they free Spirit.”

This Psalm was written by David after he is confronted by the prophet Nathan with his sin of adultery with Bathsheba.  It touches all of us because we’ve all been there — riddled with guilt because we’ve suddenly realized how deeply we have sinned.

Jonathan Parnell, pastor of Cities Church in Minneapolis-St. Paul, calls the 51st Psalm, “the Psalm par excellence when it comes to repentance” and also “an uncomfortable Psalm.”  In this short book, he discusses other deep topics touched on in this well-known Psalm:  mercy, praise, transformation, God’s presence and joy.  It’s truly food for the soul, a Biblical sound and satisfying read.

Here are a few quotes that I found particularly challenging:

“…when things don’t go the way we want, we don’t usually stop and ask God to work in us.  We would rather God change the circumstances …”


“We must take the unchanging truths of God and wrestle them into potential relevance.”


“We’re better at seeking his intervention then at giving him (God) adoration.”

If you read this book carefully, you won’t be the same when you’re finished.  I highly recommend it.

VERDICT:  5 stars

If you would like to purchase this book, follow the link below:

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.  Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

More on Psalm 51

Many hymn writers have picked up on the themes expressed in Psalm 51.   One of those was James L. Nicholson, a native of Ireland. He came to America around the age of 25 and lived in Philadelphia for almost two decades. Around 1871 he moved to Washington DC and worked there as a clerk in the Post Office Department.  He wrote the hymn “Whiter than Snow.”  Listen and remember that God is the only one who can not only forgive our sins, but completely erase them through the sacrifice of His son, Jesus.

Against You Only

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.

These verses are taken from Psalm 51.  The inscription attached to this Psalm tells us that it is a Psalm of David, written after the prophet Nathan confronted him about his adultery with Bathsheba.  David knew he had done things that were very wrong.  He had sinned against Bathsheba by leading her into adultery;  he had betrayed the trust of her husband and then had him killed;  he had disgraced his people by abusing his power as King and setting a poor example for others.  He tried to get away with his sin, and he thought he had, but he was wrong. God knew, and ultimately the sin was about his disobedience to God.  That’s what stands out for me in this Psalm.

We can hide our sins from others and sometimes we even hide them from ourselves.  We ignore them, cover them up or deny them.  We tell ourselves that in the great scheme of things, our sins are petty and not worth worrying about.  This is what a Pastor I knew once called “stinkin’ thinkin’.”  ALL sins affect our relationship with God, and we need to repent and make things right with the people we have injured and with Him.  Whenever we sin, we sin against God.

Fortunately for David, and for us, God is forgiving.  1 John 1:9 tell us:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

In order to lead a life of repentance, we must first, like David, recognize our sin– we must repent daily.  Then God is His lovingkindness will restore us.  He forgave David, and He will forgive you and me.