Deuteronomy 9:6-7 “Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people. Remember and do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day you came out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord.”
Lamentations 3:22-23 “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
The mercy of God is an incredible thing. I wonder if anyone has ever been truly saved that has not come to grips with this? Time after time in the Scriptures we are told about how God blessed people in spite of who they were and what they had done rather than because of who they were and what they had done. I know that’s the story of my life. It wasn’t until I came to grips with the incredible sinfulness of my own life that I understood the incredible mercy of God. I came to a point because of how I had been living that I expected nothing but condemnation, but received mercy instead. That changed my perspective about everything. That realization changed my life. It was at that moment that my whole life turned from a path away from God to a path towards Him. And while that journey has been far from perfect, it continues as I look back and recall the incredible mercy of such a loving God.
God’s mercy – it was the message of Moses to Israel in Deuteronomy 9 above, and it is the message of God to each and every one of us in that passage as well as others like the one above from Lamentations 3. What an awesome thing that God has not given us what we deserved. What incredible mercy He has shown us.
I was reading this morning about the Christmas story from Matthew 1. This gospel begins with the genealogy of Jesus beginning with Abraham. One of those in this lineage, King David, particularly caught my eye. Jesus is elsewhere called the son of David (e.g., Luke 18:38). He is the promised Messiah that was to come from David’s line but whose kingdom would never end. But I noticed that in Matthew 1 we are reminded that “David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah.” Ouch! With these words we are reminded of the despicable sin of David when he had Uriah murdered so he could cover up his adulterous affair with Bathsheba. Yet, in spite of this, God did not destroy David – which is exactly what he deserved. Rather, he forgave and blessed him, and through him blessed all of us.
But isn’t that how it is for every believer? Rather than getting what we deserved, i.e., the judgment of a holy God for our sins against Him, we received mercy and forgiveness as the very One we had sinned against died for us on the cross. Oh, the great mercy of our Lord. Oh, the great mercy of the God Who hasn’t given us what we deserved. Just as He made known His merciful ways to Moses, He has made known His merciful ways to us. And so these words from King David, who personally knew full well their wonderful truth: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:8-14).
What about you? Have you realized the awesome mercy that God has demonstrated towards sinners? For surely, if you have ever come to grips with this, your life as it was will never be the same.
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