The works of the Lord are the expression of His goodness, His compassion, and His mercy or His graciousness. And what a wonderful thing for us it is that the Almighty God who rules the universe is also a benevolent Being. How wonderful that He is full of mercy and overflowing in compassion. He extends forgiveness to all who seek it and His love for His creation is indescribable.
What understanding mercy does.
Understanding mercy sets us free from guilt, and the sorrow, depression, sickness caused by guilt. We can forgive, receive forgiveness and have beautiful relationships with others.
As we understand the extent of the mercy of God, it empowers our relationship with Him. Not only are we delivered of guilt, but we are conscious that God is holding nothing against us. We realise that we are not hindered by past misdemeanours but by present, unrepented of sins.
Understanding mercy also, as we saw earlier, empowers gratitude. Knowing that we have been forgiven much fills us with gratitude. Those who seek out the works of God cannot but see His mercy and be deeply thankful for it.
A textbook example of the mercy of God.
David in psalm 86 calls Him kind and forgiving, and lauds His faithfulness.
Ps 86:3 Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I cry out to you all day long! Make your servant glad, for to you, O Lord, I pray. Certainly O Lord, you are kind and forgiving, and show great faithfulness to all who cry out to you.
David’s life is a textbook example of the mercy of God. He was chosen, honoured and made powerful. But he made terrible mistakes, like the sad affair with Bathsheba. He committed adultery with his faithful soldier’s wife. Then he has the man killed when he finds out his wife is pregnant, and he cannot cover it up. He brings him off the battlefield so he can sleep with his wife, but the man refuses to go in to his wife when his comrades are on the battlefield. David himself ought to have gone to war but was taking it easy in Jerusalem. The devil finds work for idle hands. Since the cover-up is impossible, the man must die.
The prophet Nathan rebukes David for this evil. David acknowledges his wrongs, repents, but cannot save the child. And the child dies. He recognises the justice of God and after the child dies, he praises God and stops his mourning. God forgives him and allows him to have another child with Bathsheba, who he now takes as his wife. That child is called Jedediah, beloved of the Lord, whom we know as Solomon.
Be quick to implore mercy
So the psalmist declares that the Lord is gracious and full of compassion. The long history of disobedience of God’s people and His continual willingness to forgive has certainly not escaped His attention. When we understand this dimension of God, we are quick to seek forgiveness. He will attend to us, always. So as you read these words, be quick to implore His mercy., without offering excuses or justification. He is compassionate.
This is also echoed in psalm 103.8-12. After the resounding calls to not forget His benefits, His compassion and loyal love are now celebrated along with the removal of guilt.
The LORD is compassionate and merciful; he is patient and demonstrates great loyal love. He does not always accuse and does not stay angry. He does not deal with us as our sins deserve; he does not repay us as our misdeeds deserve. For as the skies are high above the earth, so his loyal love towers over his faithful follower. As far as the eastern horizon is from the west, so he removes the guilt of our rebellious actions from us.
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