David realized that there must be a consequence for his poor choice, but had faith that God would hear his pleas for mercy and respond. Mercy implies compassion that forbears punishing even when justice demands it. This is the mercy David was familiar with in the hands of God, but not in the hands of man.
I recall the times people in my life have shown no mercy towards me when I have made poor choices and compare them to the people in my life who have shown great mercy. The difference between the 2 is a relationship of love. The people in my life that have shown me mercy had unconditional love for me. My parents are the first to come to mind, followed by my husband and children. No mercy, or unrelenting punishment for poor choices, has been shown to me by friends with motives that were not pure towards our relationship, but driven by desires of personal edification and pride. When things did not go their way, they sought justice for what they perceived as a sin against them. No mercy also came in the form of employees of businesses that could care less of my circumstances, financial distress, or repentance of a bad choice. They just wanted justice.
God demands justice, but instead offers us mercy. His mercy was given to us in the form of His son. Justice says that we all deserve the wrath of God because of our sinful ways. One might be inclined to consider themselves ‘not that bad’, but consider this: the consequence presented to David was for a simple misstep on his part, ordering the numbering of his army. God had told David in the past to not rely on numbers but on the strength of God. A simple miscalculation on David’s part, but an act against God all the same.
And so it is with us. One bitter thought, one simple lie, the slightest act of rebellion to our parents is cause for God to turn His face from us and pour judgment on our heads that results in eternal condemnation. But just as my parents, husband and children choose to show me mercy over justice because of their love for me, God chose to send His son to the cross because of His unconditional love for me. This love is greater than any love my family could ever have for me. It is greater than I can even fathom. While there may come a day when my spouse, children or parents might give up on me or tire of dealing with my poor choices, scripture assures me that God never will.
When I was yet to be saved by the blood of Christ, God did not stop pursuing me. Too many times I turned a blind eye or a deaf ear to the invitation, but He never stopped sending His message of mercy and grace to me.
He never gave up until one day I realized the justice I deserved
and took the mercy He offered instead.
As a Christian, God still does not give up on me. As I have stumbled to walk the path He directs, He chooses to show mercy by picking me up, dusting me off and letting me try again. Yes, there have been times when the consequences of the choices I made that caused me to stumble resulted in a limp, even that was for a season. And as I limped along, redirecting my steps to follow His lead, the healing came. In His mercy I would be healed and made even stronger.
Just as David was given a choice for the consequences of his action, we too are given a choice. Choose to accept mercy in the sacrifice made on our behalf, or choose justice for the lives we have lived.
Once accepted, His mercy is there time and again, as we learn to walk the life He calls us into.
God Bless and Keep You,
If you are reading this word today and choosing mercy for the first time, take a minute to bow and submit your life to Christ. A simple prayer confessing yourself to be a sinner in the eyes of God, unable to 'earn' a place in Heaven with Him. Offer up a life submitted to His leadership and ask for eyes to see how He desires us to live in response to this submission. If you are not part of a church family, seek a church home and tell someone of your new found life in Christ. Today the angels are rejoicing and celebrating your new birth as follower of Christ!