The Intersection of Mercy and Grace

(Today’s post by Adam Cooper)

2 Samuel 8, 9


God is great! In Chapter 8 of 2 Samuel we see God honoring His part of the covenant He had made with David by handing all of Israel’s enemies to him in battle after battle. Samuel uses words like defeated, control, subject to, struck down. And with every victory, we see David paying tribute to the Lord. David knew that his victories belonged to God and not himself. David knew that everything that was happening was part of God’s grand plan for Israel. Not once do we see Samuel say anything about David doubting God or questioning God. We simply see a victorious king made so by his faith and trust in God. “The Lord gave David victory wherever he

went.” A lot of times when I read, I picture what I am reading, almost like a movie playing along in my head. As I read about victory after victory of David, I never pictured the battles but in almost every instance I pictured the valiant entry of a victorious king back into Jerusalem. I believe that this had to be one of the brightest times in Israel’s history as no kingdom in that region stood over them. And why was that? Because of God and the faith and trust that David placed in Him.

In Chapter 9, Samuel allows us to see David reaching out to the family of King Saul and showing them mercy and grace. I know we all remember King Saul, the one that had become so obsessed with killing David because David was now the Lord’s anointed. Even if you remember the pursuit of David by Saul you will remember the many times that David spared Saul’s life and showed grace and mercy then as well. In Chapter 8, we are painted this picture of a glorious warrior who could not lose a battle and in Chapter 9 we are painted a picture that is just as vivid but instead it is a picture of mercy and grace. Of course when you go back and analyze the bits and pieces of Chapter 8 you still see David showing mercy and grace. He rarely killed everyone in the kingdom he was subduing but instead allowed a remnant to survive in order for them to be indebted to him in some way.

I can’t help but think of the old saying, “turn the other cheek.” David did this with Saul and his family. David did this with kingdoms he conquered. In every instance when David could say, “you guys were mean to me so now I will be mean to you” he simply showed grace and mercy and continued on.

I am sure that there are some out there who would see the grace and mercy that David showed to the people he conquered as forced compliance with the new regime; “comply or die” so to speak. But I think it was more than that. I think David was filled with the grace and mercy that can only come from God and he truly did not believe in killing for killing’s sake. He did what was required to subdue Israel’s enemies just as God had promised.

One only has to read the newspaper today to see that society exists as the antithesis to King David. We are all about winning. We are all about being on top. Look at the fun exchanges that can be had by simply mentioning you are a Clemson fan in a room full of Georgia fans. Even simple school yard discussions become a game of one-upsmanship; “I have a dog at home” becomes “well, I have a dog at home that is bigger than your dog” and then “well my dog is so big it will eat your dog”. “My car is faste

r than your car”. “My boat is nicer than your boat”. “My house is bigger than your house”. We have gone from the grace and mercy that true men of God like King David display to nothing more than mice looking for the biggest piece of cheese.

Are there any people from your childhood that may have treated you badly and you still have nothing to do with? I will admit that over the years I have struggled reaching out, or even speaking to, people that I grew up with that bullied me and made my life a challenge. David was pursued by Saul with a determination that can only be described as murderous and I can’t forgive someone who pushed me down or called me a name in the fifth grade? Give me a break! I am broken by this comparison and humbled before God as the Spirit shows me my own sin. We all need to remember the grace and mercy that David showed to Saul and the kingdoms he conquered. Why? Because it is a reflection of the grace and mercy that God has poured out onto us in overabundance. We deserve death. We deserve His wrath. But instead we get the blood of Christ to wash us free of our sins and save us from that wrath.

During recent discussions at our Friday Bro-Fast we examined the condition (singular) for salvation and we discussed the fact that repentance involves nothing more than a turning away from your old ways. Repentance does not require sorrow over your previous sins. One thing I will say that is true of me is that as I remember more of how I used to behave before I was saved the more I am moved to feel sorrowful because of the sacrifice of Christ and the disrespect that I showed Him for so long

because of the way I behaved. No, sorrow is not required but it will reflect the proper heart if it comes.

Sorry, chased a rabbit there for a moment. My challenge for you today is for each of you to look at those in your past who may have treated you unfairly or wronged you in some way an

d ask yourself if you have the grace and mercy within you to forgive them.

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