"David exploded in anger, ‘As surely as God lives,' he said to Nathan, ‘the man who did this ought to be lynched.'"
II Samuel 12: 5
The Message Bible
EXPLORATION "Getting What We Deserve"
Definition of Deserve: To earn, merit, be entitled to, expect to get, should be given.
"Mercy is better than vengeance."
If I looked at my behavior, actions, and attitudes during my life, how do I believe I deserve to be treated?
"And for yourself, whatever there has been either of sin or duty, remember the one and forget the other, and betake yourself wholly to the mercy of God and the merit of Christ."
INSPIRATION "The more godly any man is, the more merciful that man will be."
David was furious. As the prophet Nathan related the story of a rich man who had abused a poor man by stealing his one sheep and slaughtering it, David's anger boiled over. According to David, justice demanded swift action. In David's mind, anyone filled with such heartless, meanness deserved and merited the most vigorous punishment. In utter frustration, David finally couldn't contain himself as he blew-up, "Let the man die" he exploded.
Now please don't take wrong what I'm about to say. What the rich man did to the poor man was despicable. But if you or I were to put this behavior up against David's infidelity with Bathsheba and subsequent slaughter of her husband, you might think that David's reaction was a little fierce. Author Thomas Adams advised, "He that demands mercy and shows none ruins the bridge over which he himself is to pass." And in David's case, his behavior toward both Bathsheba and Uriah deemed him a man who needed a huge supply of mercy for he had a mammoth sized bridge to cross.
Here again though, as I reflect on the story Nathan told, God's heavenly wisdom and the lengths God will go to draw us out of a pit of folly, is exemplified in the words of Nathan.
First, God could have called David out, directly, for this was what his behavior merited. He deserved to be treated like a low-life. Instead, God had His prophet, His messenger Nathan, tell David a story that touched David's heart, for you see, David, himself, was a shepherd. In Psalm 23, David even likens his heavenly Father to a gentle shepherd who with loving care protects his sheep as he sees for their needs of water and food. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it would not surprise me at all if David couldn't relate directly to the description Nathan gave him about the poor man's ewe, the little sheep he loved like his own child. I would not be shocked to learn that the young David, out in nature, caring with protective love for each sheep, may have known all of the sheep in his herd by name. We do know that the welfare and safety of his flocks were of prime importance to David for he risked his own life to kill a bear and lion instead of letting them run off and take the life of even one of his sheep.
So you can only imagine how the tender-hearted shepherd, David, felt when he was informed of the cruelty of a greedy man who was so arrogant he decided to take from a poor neighbor, the only sheep he had, in order to satisfy the hunger of a traveler
David's immediate response was, "How dare he?" And for many of us, when we are confronted with the mistakes and errant ways we perceive in others, find our own reactions coming forth in nearly the same manner. We might even say, "I hope she gets what she deserves!"
Yet, I ask you, "Who among us has been given what we really deserve by our loving heavenly Father's merciful hand when we have faltered?" I know I have not been treated by my heavenly Father as I deserved when I've made mistakes. And neither was David for repeatedly in the Psalms, David refers to the merciful kindness which he was the beneficiary of. In Psalm 6: 2 (K.J.V.), David asked God to, "Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed." I know there are days that this is the prayer of my own heart and I'm certain yours, too! But this isn't the only time David refers to mercy in the Psalms - that unmerited, undeserved favor that is poured down upon us like heaven's showers. I counted and the word "mercy" appears over 100 times in the book of Psalms, more than any other book in the entire Bible. And in Psalm 103: 17 (K.J.V.), David hits a high note when describing God's mercy when he writes, "The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear (adore) Him."
What beautiful and comforting words for me to read. Comforting because it tells me that my Father's mercy is extended, not just to the best of us, but to all of us, whether we deserve it or not.
And so, a man who deserved to die, received the gift of his Father's mercy. In the words of Augustus M. Toplady:
"A debtor to mercy alone,
Of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with Thy righteousness on,
My person and offering to bring;
The terrors of law and of God
With me can have nothing to do;
My Saviour's obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view."
"Mercies are never so savoury as when with the savour of a Saviour."
AFFIRMATIONS God's Mercy
"God's boundless mercy is to sinful man
like to the ever-wealthy ocean;
which though it sends forth thousand streams,
‘tis never known, or else seen, to be the emptier;
and though it takes all in, ‘tis yet no more full,
and filled full, than when full filled before."
"I am happy because you have accepted me, dear Lord.
Sometimes I do not know what to do with all my happiness.
I swim in your mercy like a whale in the ocean.
The saying goes: An ocean never dries up, but we know that Your mercies never fail.
Dear Lord, your mercy is our happiness. Hallelujah!"
Adapted - West Africa
"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."
Lamentations 3: 22, 23
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
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