As I sat on the patio drinking my coffee a few moments ago listening to the birds sing and looking at my blooming lemon tree that I thought last month may not make it because of the freeze, I thought about a Scripture: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:22-23)
David knew the Lord’s mercies and called out for them in his prayer in Psalm 27, asking the Lord to keep him safe as he dwells (abides) in the Lord (v 5); asking the Lord to lift him up (v 6); asking the Lord to hear his pleas and to be merciful in answering him (v 7); asking the Lord to not turn away from him when he seeks the Lord (v 9); and asking the Lord to teach him His way and to lead him in a straight path (v 11).
As I read through this I noticed a pattern: David recognized that God’s mercy is bestowed upon those who recognize our dependence upon the Lord, and who seek the Lord to teach us His ways and for His guidance. To receive the Lord’s mercy, we must recognize our sin and admit we need His mercy and grace. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
We must steep ourselves in God’s Word (Ps. 119:105) so that we instantly recognize sin in ourselves and can turn from it, and be thankful. “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:3-7)
The Lord is mighty to save us. I was singing a portion of the song from Hillsong as I thought on this: “For my God is mighty to save, Forever, author of Salvation where He rose and conquered the grave…So take me as You find me, all my fears and failures, fill my life again, I give my life to follow…I surrender”. The Lord will take us as we are and mercifully justify us by His righteousness, if we believe in Jesus Christ, His Son, and the work He accomplished for us on the cross and in His resurrection. “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.” (Ps. 86:5)
What is required of us to receive His mercy? To believe in Jesus Christ, and to seek the Lord and His ways, to follow where He leads. And we must submit to His will. Before I begin my Bible study each morning, I begin by saying the following prayer: Lord, help to see people and circumstances through your eyes, and help me to recognize the blessings and grace I receive from You and others, so that I will transform into a thankful person. And in my grateful spirit, may Your light shine through me so that those in the darkness desire to come into the light. Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name. In Jesus’s name, amen. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)