By Pastor Travis Lauterbach

King David prayed to the Lord God, saying, “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15)

David calls the Lord a merciful God. Just what does that mean?

Merriam-Webster states that mercy is “kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly.”

The full definition also given is “compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power.”

Scripture records various experiences of David with the Lord’s mercy.

For example, when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and plotted to have her husband killed in war (2 Samuel 11-12). The Lord was displeased.

Interestingly, the prophet Nathan approached David and told a story through which David condemned himself.

After hearing Nathan’s story, he said, “The man who did this deserves to die!” Nathan’s simple response? “You are the man.”

David saw the connection between the parable and his own actions, and he confessed his sin.

Nathan told him, “Your sin has been put away.” His sin was forgiven. That’s mercy!

David actually deserved to die as he himself freely declared. He could have been treated harshly.

He used the throne to which God called him for his own personal gain at the expense of the lives of others. He, the king, took advantage of his position with Bathsheba. He offended Uriah. Most of all, he offended God.

David could have and according to God’s Law, should have been treated harshly. And yet, the prophet announced the forgiveness of David’s sin.

The Lord doesn’t hold sin against repentant sinners. If He did, none could stand in His presence.

Rather than justly condemning sinners, the Father sent His Son Jesus to go after the lost. Jesus is mercy as He came to sacrifice Himself for sinners, even though He didn’t have to.

Through the blessed death of Jesus, sin has been put away and His glorious resurrection opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

In this way, God shows His mercy to sinners, as David’s forgiveness illustrates.