But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him… Daniel 9:9 (NLT)
Grace is getting what we don’t deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve! Billy Graham once said, “When you stand before God, it’s not justice you want but mercy!” Of all the attributes of God, His mercy is the most outstanding to me! It’s so counterintuitive. Habbakuk prayed for Judah just before their fall to the Babylonians. Knowing that Judah had long since departed from God and was deserving of judgment, He prayed,
O Lord… in wrath remember mercy. Hab. 3:2 (NIV)
Daniel may have had those words in mind when he prayed for Judah years later following their captivity. Deeply burdened for his nation, he prayed,
O Lord our God, You brought lasting honor to Your name by rescuing Your people from Egypt in a great display of power. But we have sinned and are full of wickedness. In view of all Your faithful mercies, Lord, please turn Your furious anger away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain…. Daniel 9:15-16 (NLT)
Although suffering in captivity himself, Daniel had walked faithfully with God throughout his life. His prayer reveals his understanding of the character of God, His justice, and His mercy. How can justice and mercy coexist? They are like two sides of the same coin. God is just. But, God is also merciful! His justice brings us to the mercy seat to obtain grace and find mercy in our time of trouble! Daniel prayed,
O LORD, we and our kings, princes, and ancestors are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. Daniel 9:8-9 (NLT)
Like Israel, we’ve all blown it. We all deserve the judgment of God for our sin. Yet God, in His tender mercies, provided a sacrifice in our place that would atone for our sin. He gave His one and only Son! The Bible tells us in Romans 5:8
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
No matter what you’ve done, no matter what anyone thinks or says, God offers you mercy in Christ. Far from a license to sin, His mercy rescues us from the snare of sin and sets us free to receive His grace and a new life in Christ! Seek His mercy today and experience His grace!