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March 28

Psalm 103:11-22

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his faithful love toward those who fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. 14 For he knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are like grass—he blooms like a flower of the field; 16 when the wind passes over it, it vanishes, and its place is no longer known. 17 But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear him, and his righteousness toward the grandchildren 18 of those who keep his covenant, who remember to observe his precepts. 19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. 20 Bless the Lord, all his angels of great strength, who do his word, obedient to his command. 21 Bless the Lord, all his armies, his servants who do his will. 22 Bless the Lord, all his works in all the places where he rules. My soul, bless the Lord! — Psalm 103:11-22

Praise the Lord and Thank Him for His Mercies

by Melodie Tunney

In our current conversations, we rarely hear the word "mercies." Even in our Christian-speak, I can't remember a time recently when I've heard someone say, "I am so thankful for the mercies of God." Let's define this word. The dictionary gives us several synonyms: leniency, clemency, compassion, forgiveness, forbearance. But one of my favorite definitions (thank you, Merriam-Webster) is this: A blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion.

When I look at my life, I see God's mercies shown over and over again. I see them in large, eternal acts such as the gift of salvation and a future in heaven. And I see them in my daily walk with Him, as He forgives my unholy thoughts, words or deeds. Lamentations 3:22 tells us, "His mercies never end." Hallelujah!

As David penned the words to Psalm 103, he was obviously very aware of God's daily, divine, grace-filled mercies. The first portion of the Psalm names the specific blessings or "benefits" he is grateful for. And as the psalm continues, David reminds us of how wide, long, high and deep God's love really is by giving us the picture of the distance between the heavens and the earth.

He also reminds us of the absolution from our sins—past, present, and future—by telling us that "as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." I heard someone once say that if you continue to walk north, you will eventually be walking south. But if you continue to walk east, you will never be walking west. In other words, God's removal of our sins is as far removed as we could ever imagine.

Going back to our Webster's definition of mercies, let's make sure we grasp that God's mercies are an act of divine favor and compassion. Favor - meaning it is God's decision, God's act, and God's compassion that is being shown. This has nothing to do with us meriting or working hard for such grace and love.

The story is told of a woman who was pleading for the life of her son to Napoleon during the French Revolution. She asked for a pardon for her son who had committed a certain offense twice and was sentenced to death. "I don't ask for justice," the mother explained. "I plead for mercy." But your son does not deserve mercy," Napoleon replied. "Sir, it wouldn't be mercy if he deserved it. And mercy is what I'm asking for." Napoleon's response was to spare her son.

We don't deserve God's mercies, but He has freely given them to us through HIS son, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:6). Romans 5:8 tells us that "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." And Romans 7:15-25 says that as we continue to be men and women who struggle with sin, God's grace continues to abound. May we receive our Lord's mercies this day and every day. "Praise the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies" (2 Corinthians 1:3a).

Praxis

  1. What are the mercies of God that you are most grateful for today? Thank Him for His daily blessings, as well as His eternal gifts.
  2. For further study on the many mercies and acts of compassion God has shown us, take a moment and read Ephesians 1:3-10, 3:14-21, and Romans 11:33-36.
  3. Ask the Lord to open your eyes each day to how He is continuing to show you grace. Give Him thanks and praise for His unlimited mercies.