“Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live?”
II Samuel 12: 22
“Gracious To Me”
“Come, let us to the Lord our God with contrite hearts return; Our God is gracious, nor will leave the desolate to mourn.”
British hymn writer
Has there been a time in my life when God’s graciousness was extended to me, not just to meet my needs, but also to help others around me?
If I ask God to be gracious to me, does my request always take into consideration the needs and concerns of others?
Gracious: Having a merciful and compassionate nature. Filled with kindness and warm courtesy.
“So be done with every trace of wickedness and all deceit and insincerity, pretense, hypocrisy and grudges, envy, jealousy and slander and evil speaking of every kind. Like newborn babies you should crave, thirst for, earnestly desire the pure, unadulterated spiritual milk, that by it you may be nurtured and grow unto completed salvation, since you have already tasted the graciousness of the Lord.”
I Peter 2: 1-3
It’s hard to imagine that tucked away in the book of II Samuel is a reminder so beautiful and encouraging that it is like an infusion of concentrated nutrients from our heavenly Father’s unlimited storehouse of treasures.
In our text today, David conveyed to those who worked for him that he had prayed that God would spare the life of his child because who knows, he observed, whether God’s graciousness will extend to this event.
Now let’s be clear, we shouldn’t read this passage of Scripture in a way that makes us think David was questioning God’s graciousness. In fact, in David’s case, he had learned by personal experience that God was gracious. In Psalm 34: 8, when David was in many of his tight spots during his mountain and wilderness wanderings, he penned these words, “O taste and see that the Lord our God is good! Blessed, happy, fortunate, to be envied is the man (and woman) who trusts and takes refuge in Him.” David has tasted the gracious kindness from his Father’s sumptuous buffet table. And so whether the times he faced were filled with hardship or hope – he knew that asking God for His assistance would be met with the ultimate loving-kindness of a Father who had his best interest at heart.
The same can be said for the Apostle Peter whose words begin our “Inspiration” today. Peter was a fiery character. A hard-working fisherman who was called to be a disciple of Jesus. You have to love Jesus for the kind of characters He surrounded Himself with. There wasn’t a perfect person among them – thank goodness!
To Peter’s credit, he threw himself whole-heartedly into his relationship with Jesus. He was committed, that is until the moment when Jesus needed his loyalty the most. And in that split-second of crisis, Peter denied he ever knew Jesus.
After this painful experience, you might imagine Jesus would give-up on Peter. And you might surmise that Peter thought he had nothing to give to Jesus. Yet this story is quite the opposite for the gracious compassion of Jesus embraced his friend Peter who had “tasted” from the fountain of graciousness and knew there was a way back.
In the small book of Joel, in the Old Testament, this prophet gives us a clearer picture of what our heavenly Father is like when he wrote “The Lord says, ‘turn and keep on coming to Me with all your heart…until every hindrance is removed and the broken fellowship is restored. Rend your hearts and not your garments and return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness; and revokes His sentence (repenteth of evil)” Joel 2: 12, 13 (Amplified Bible).
Both Peter and David had tasted of God’s graciousness. And in times of great failure in their lives, instead of running away from their Father’s merciful love, they went to the One place they knew where they would receive the kindness they so desperately needed.
In his wonderful book, How To Listen To God, Dr. CharlesStanley describes the kind of gracious Counselor we all need when like David we have wandered from our Father’s loving care and need to hear His loving voice woo us home again. “When we unload the hurts of our spirits, the frustrations of our lives, God isn’t the kind of Counselor who hurls back condemnation at us or piles guilt on top of us. Every person needs a counselor to whom the whole truth can be told, a counselor who won’t retaliate angrily. If a worldly counselor can possess such compassion, certainly God can. The kind of counselor we as believers have is One from whom we cannot hide. He knows it all anyway, and we can tell Him anything we want to…no matter what we say, God still loves us, and as an understanding Counselor, He can take anything we give and accept us unconditionally.”
This was the gracious Father that David told those around him, was “gracious to me” even when he didn’t get the answer he wanted to his prayer and things didn’t go as David had planned.
Despite David’s failings, which were many, we find that many times in the Psalms, he talks about the well of God’s graciousness when he says with confidence, “But Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give Thy strength unto Thy servant and save me.” What a prayer of complete trust on a God who is gracious no matter if our pathway is rocky or smooth or our days are desperate or hopeful.
David finished Psalm 86, “Thou Lord, hast helped me and comforted me.” What a gracious Father, indeed! The Lord is gracious, merciful, and full of loving-compassion.”
Psalm 111: 4
A Prayer for Grace
“View me, Lord, a work of thine:
Shall I then lie drowned in night?
Might thy grace in me but shine,
I should seem made all of light.
But my soul still surfeits so
On the poisoned baits of sin,
That I strange and ugly grow,
All is dark and foul within.
Cleanse me, Lord, that I may kneel
At thine altar, pure and white:
They that once thy mercies feel,
Gaze no more on earth’s delight.
Worldly joys like shadows fade,
When the heavenly light appears;
But the cov’nants thou hast made,
Endless, know nor days, nor years.
In thy word, Lord, is my trust,
To thy mercies fast I fly:
Though I am but clay and dust,
Yet thy grace can lift me high.”
Dorothy Valcấrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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