The Lord is merciful

The Lord is gracious

and merciful,

slow to anger

and abounding in steadfast love. (Ps 145:8)

This month of October we are taking each of these characteristics of God to see what they really reveal about who God is.  Looking this week at the Lord being merciful.

Mercy = to feel sympathy for; compassion; leniency; forgiveness

The mercy of the Lord = God’s love which responds to human need in an unmerited way.

If Grace is God giving us things which we do not deserve,

then mercy is God not giving us what we do deserve!

One thing which has struck me very forcably when looking at God’s mercy is that in order to obtain this mercy we have to first of all be conscious of our need for it!

In Psalm 51, David is so conscious of his sin that he cries out to God for mercy.  He knows that God alone can deal with his sin, that he can’t do it himself.  He knows that God is merciful and that there is forgiveness to be found in Him.

The greater our awareness of sin, the greater our awareness and appreciation of God’s mercies!

Also, in looking at incidences in the gospels of people crying out to Jesus for mercy, I noticed that they had a need, they knew their need and they cried out because of that specific need.  When Jesus asked them “what do you want me to do for you?”, they were specific, not full of waffle, but straight to the point: heal my daughter, restore my sight, make me whole, forgive my sin etc.  They also recognised that Jesus is Lord, and that He was able and willing to touch, to respond, to heal, to save.

Lord, this is my need, this is my situation, this is where I need You to come into my life and show me compassion, this is where I need Your leniency that You won’t deal with me as I deserve.

It was when Jesus passed by that He heard their cry, He stopped, He touched, He saved.  Where in your life just now are you needing Jesus to hear you, to stop by you, to hear you, to speak to you?

Then cry out, Jesus, have mercy on me.

The greater the need, the greater the mercy!

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