David’s words are our words, aren’t they? With David, we recognize our failings and cry out to God that he would not condemn us: “Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you” (143:2). With David, in our wretchedness, we say: “I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust” (143:6-8).
A number of years ago, there were those who changed the lyrics of John Newton’s Amazing Grace – from “saved a wretch like me” to “that saved and set me free” – and of Isaac Watts’ Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed – from “for such a worm as I” to “for such a one as I.” For some it is impossible to sing about one’s self as a wretch or a worm; not good for one’s self-esteem, is it? Here’s the thing, though; as children of God, we do not find our hope in any perceived self-goodness but, like David, trust in our Savior’s goodness. Oh, how sweet to invite sinners, “poor and wretched,” to arise and go to Jesus, knowing that “He will embrace me in His arms.” What a wondrous thought for a Saturday morning!
Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready waits to save you,
Full of pity, love and pow’r:
He is able, He is able,
He is willing, doubt no more. –Joseph Hart