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If you ever doubt the loving mercy of God, read this passage:
And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.
And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart;
And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain.
For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people.
Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:
Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.
But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king. (1 Samuel 12:19-25 KJV)
I read this passage in my devotions and I was struck by how merciful God is.
The children of Israel blatantly disobeyed Him in asking for a king, but He forgave them and gave them another chance.
God forgave the mistake they made and commanded them to start fresh – from here on out, do right. So often God does the same for me. He works despite my mistakes. He can take whatever we leave with Him and make it beautiful.
However (and this is what we often forget or try to ignore to make ourselves feel better), the picture is always more beautiful if we do the right thing from the get-go. Sure, God can work despite our mistakes, but those mistakes aren’t part of His plan and they do mar the canvas. Those mistakes bring about consequences that we have to deal with. What would Jewish history look like today if Israel had stayed a theocracy like God intended? We’ll never know – at least not here on earth.
Never forget – God is so merciful. Wherever you are in life, start doing right right now! But don’t use God’s mercy as a license for sin. Sin never pays. There’s a balance there.