August 11

1 Chronicles 18-21, Psalm 68

Sometimes what is not written is just as important as what is. In today's reading, God's mercy is seen by what is omitted. J. Dwight Pentecost (American theologian who died in 2014) used to say, "Mercy is God's ministry to the miserable. It is both intensely personal and immensely practical. For when I am treated unfairly, God's mercy relieves my bitterness. When I grieve over loss, it relieves my pain and anger and denial. When I struggle with disability, it relieves my self-pity. When I endure physical pain, it relieves my hopelessness. When I deal with being sinful, it relieves my guilt."

While the books of Samuel and Kings tell the history of Israel from a political perspective, Chronicles tells it from a spiritual perspective. We read in 1 Chr 20:1, "It happened in the spring of the year, at the time kings go out to battle, that Joab led out the armed forces and ravaged the country of the people of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem...." We know from the parallel passage in 2 Samuel 11, that this is when David committed adultery with Bathsheeba and had her husband, Uriah, one of David's mighty men, murdered. This amazing stain of sin is strikingly omitted from the records in Chronicles. We read of David's profound confession in Psalm 51, where he starts in verse 1, "Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions." We read God's response in 2 Sa 12:13, "So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." And Nathan said to David, "The Lord also has put away your sin;...".

Like David we all were and are sinners who desperately need God's mercy. We see in the case of David that his sin was removed from the record. We read in Psalm 103:11-12, "For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has he removed our transgressions from us." We read in Hebrews 8:12, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." When we enter into a relationship with Jesus, repent of our sins and accept His free offer of salvation, our names are found in the Lamb's Book of Life. Our names are there, our sins are not, for they are blotted out of the Book. No matter what we have done, even if we feel it is beyond forgiving, God's mercy and the power in the blood of Jesus can overpower any sin and stain in our lives. May we accept God's mercy and experience forgiveness, then extend that mercy and forgiveness in our dealings with others who have wronged us. We read in Matthew 6:14-15, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster