For the Lord relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. (Judg. 2:18)

Stories of mercy grab our attention. We are amazed at the kindness of strangers and incredulous at tales of forgiveness. And yes, we need to recognize the wonder of that. But we shouldn’t be surprised that humans are capable of such action. After all, the God who created us is a being of mercy and grace. We bear, ever so faintly, a trace of that image. And when we are renewed in relationship with him, we are empowered to exercise mercy as Jesus did.

Scripture speaks much of God’s mercy and lovingkindness. It is vast, deep, and high. And he chooses to grant it even when undeserved.

The wanton generation of Israel did not deserve favor or rescue. They had flaunted his laws and imitated the heathen nations around them, “prostituting” themselves to other gods. Jehovah was in the right to cast them out and walk away. But he did not.

When they cried out under the discipline he sent their way in the form of oppression from other nations, he sent them relief by the judges. And he helped the judges for their benefit. He allowed them some reprieve, giving them opportunities to repent and change their headstrong plunge to evil. This is the divine nature of our God. Even in judgement, he offers exits to grace.

Recognize that every spark of mercy originates with God.

Valorie Quesenberry is a pastor’s wife and mom who lives in Indiana and likes to recharge with coffee and time with friends.

© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.