Motive for Mercy

Psalm 6:2-5 “Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed… oh save me for thy mercies’ sake. For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?”

I recently read these words: “let’s answer the question of why Esau failed to find repentance for simply selling his birthright even though he sought it desperately with tears. Esau’s repentance was faulty because he did not understand true repentance. He was a profane fornicator (see Hebrews 12:16-17), and he simply wanted to regain the blessings that he had lost (see Genesis 25:33-34). However, when David was confronted with his sin, he repented for the right reason. He wanted to restore fellowship with God. If we repent for any other reason than this we are not experiencing true repentance (See Psalm 51).”

On multiple occasions, men in the Bible prayed words like those in the passage above in their plea for mercy. They reveal an important principle in going to the Lord to seek His mercy: our motives. The Lord is gracious, full of mercy, and ready to forgive. But why are we going to Him? Is it because we were caught? Or afraid we may be? Is it to regain lost blessings, or stop the spiritual bleeding?

We see David’s motives in his prayer here when he said, “have mercy… for (because, this is why I’m asking) in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks.” What was David saying? In essence, “Lord please extend to me your mercy that I might live to thank you, and fellowship with you once again.”

We have all sinned. We will sin. We will be at God’s mercy again. When we come before Him, let us come with the right motives. What were our past motives in pleading for mercy? What will our motives be when we seek it again? Might our motives be to regain lost fellowship with Him, to once again be led by His Spirit, and to know to do His will. That is where we find mercy, grace and blessing once again.


2 Samuel 9:1-3 And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake… And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.

My father was playing basketball with some men at the church a while back, when a young man went began to curse him out, and then storm off. My dad had many options. He was the pastor. No one should speak to him like that, at “his” church. My dad chose this option: he noticed that this young man could use some new shoes, and bought him some nice, new Nike’s, and set them on the seat of his car. Further, my father learned that this young man’s dad had just passed away, and it must have been a difficult time in his life.

How can we respond with kindness toward those who need it most? How can we love even those that seem unlovable? Not long before this event in David’s life, it seems that he despised the lame and the blind. Further, David was at variance (even war) with the house of Saul. How then did David have desire spring up within him to show kindness to the house of Saul?

David gives us the answer in 2 Samuel 9:3. It was not David’s own kindness that he desired to show, but the kindness of God working through him. The same is true for us. If we’re going to make a difference in the lives of those God has called us to serve, we need to allow God’s kindness to work through us, and show His kindness to them.

How will we love the cursing bus kid with a broken home, or the single mom whose life is a mess, or the broken marriage that seems hopeless, or the teenage punk in the youth group? How can we make a difference in their lives? Most likely, it will not be by following our natural intuition or inclinations. We will make a difference when we endeavor to allow God’s kindness to flow through us, and show it to them.

Two questions to consider: Has God been kind to us, despite us? To whom can we show the kindness of God today?