God’s mercy is not getting what you deserve; God’s grace is getting what you don’t deserve. God has given you both—no thanks to you; all thanks to him. Now would be a good time to offer up your gratitude!
Read: Psalm 123 // Focus: Psalm 123:2
As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he shows us his mercy.
I don’t know how much thought you give to God’s mercy, but frankly, without it, you wouldn’t even be reading this devotional blog today. And you are not alone—apart from Divine mercy, I wouldn’t have written it.
No one captured our utter dependence on God’s mercy better than the prophet Jeremiah, who wrote,
This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:21-23, NKJV)
What is Divine mercy? Simply this: Not getting what you rightly deserve. Grace, the other side of your utter dependence on God, is getting what you don’t deserve. Out of God’s great love and compassion, he has extended his grace through salvation, by which he lavished upon you all heaven’s riches at Christ’s expense. Keep in mind that none of that was due to your own merit.
Yet before you could even receive his grace, God first had to unleash his righteous wrath upon Christ as he hung on the cross, bearing the just and deserved punishment for your sins. Mercy—not getting what you rightly deserve—was made possible only through Christ’s death.
What that means for you is that every single day, every minute of every day, each second, each breath and each heartbeat is a gift of God’s grace and mercy through Jesus Christ our Lord. And for that, you ought to be continually and eternally overflowing with gratitude!
Yet not only is God’s grace and mercy undeserved, unmerited gifts to you, they are also your privilege once you become his child through faith in Christ. That is why, as the psalmist has done here, you can appeal to God for a specific extension of his mercy in your time of need. And that, my friend, is a very good thing indeed, since coming to the Father by virtue of his mercy requires you to remember the very reason for your righteous standing before a holy God: Christ’s atoning death.
When you remember, understand, and make your appeal to Divine mercy, your being exudes love, gratitude and humility, and that becomes a sweet smelling and irresistible fragrance to your merciful and gracious God.