Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.
Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
The psalmist asks God to magnify his mercy by forgetting the psalmist’s sins & remembering His own mercy and goodness instead. God is by no means required to do this. In fact, in most people God magnifies His justice & wrath as Romans 9:22-23 teaches. God’s wrath is right and just, but our earnest request to Him is that in His wrath He would remember mercy for His name’s sake (Hab. 3:2). It is foolish to imagine we will receive anything from God by appealing to our goodness, but when we appeal to His goodness we can have confidence that we will receive the mercy we are pleading for.
The psalmist recognizes his sinfulness before a holy God. We too must approach God in humility and honesty. But when we despair because of our corrupt humanity we must hope in & magnify God’s mercy. We don’t only ask Him to remember His mercy and forget our sin, we also must magnify God’s mercy by setting our hope on His goodness which is greater than our sinfulness. His mercy is our only hope, there is nothing in our nature or heart that can give us hope; all is fallen & corrupt. He is our hope, righteousness & salvation.
But we should also magnify God’s mercy by learning His ways as in vs 8. We know we are sinners but trust that God in His goodness will lead us in paths of righteous for His name’s sake (Ps. 23:3). In view of God’s mercy we should offer our bodies as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1). One who does not turn away from sin has not set their hope on God’s mercy, but they have deceived themselves into thinking that God can be mocked (Gal. 6:3). Those who have truly trusted in the kind forgiveness of God will reveal it in their lives by hungering and thirsting after righteousness (Mat. 5:6).