Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. – Psalm 57:1
Psalm 57 deals with the mercy of God. Hiding from Saul, David was camped out in a cave at En-Gedi, near the Dead Sea. When Saul made his way into the same cave, not knowing David was already there, David’s men were jubilant. “This is your opportunity to wipe Saul out!” they said. But David wouldn’t do that. Instead, he merely cut a piece of cloth from Saul’s skirt – more than likely from the hem of the garment, which would have spoken of Saul’s pedigree and position. You see, in Bible days, knots were tied to the hems of garments in such a way that they signified a man’s family, tribe, and position. Thus, by cutting the garment of Saul, David, in a sense, was cutting off Saul’s position. Later, we are told, David’s heart smote him, for he knew he must not touch the Lord’s anointed (1 Samuel 24:5).
Maybe there’s someone chasing you down, hurling spears in your direction, trying to wipe you out, treating you unfairly or cruelly. Here’s what you need to remember: that person is anointed by the Lord to work His purposes in your life, to make you into the man or woman He desires you to be in order that you might rule with Him more effectively. If I retaliate and throw spears back, I’m missing the point, missing what God is doing in my life. The Lord knows. He’ll remove Saul in due season. But in the meantime, any given person or situation in your life could be the very instrument God is using to make you into a better person than you otherwise would be. And David understood this.
In clipping Saul’s garment, David knew that he had missed God’s best. So he asks the Lord to be merciful to him. “Blessed are the merciful,” Jesus said, “for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). David had shown mercy in not lopping off Saul’s head. Thus he could ask for mercy to be shown to him.
In Luke 6, Jesus talks about the importance of mercy . . .
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:35-38
“Give, and it shall be given unto you.” Jesus isn’t talking about money. He’s talking about mercy. Every one of us is in need of mercy. We all drop the ball. We all fall short. God has been merciful to us – but we need mercy from each other as well. Therefore, if you want to receive mercy in your hour of difficulty, be merciful to others.
When people were spitting on Him, hurling curses at Him, Jesus didn’t pray, “Father, forgive them when they realize what they’ve done and repent of it.” No, He prayed, “Father, forgive them even now because they don’t understand what they’re doing” (see Luke 23:34).
That’s always the way it is. When people are mean-spirited and throwing spears, it’s because they don’t see the big picture, the Biblical perspective. That is why we need to do what Jesus did. We don’t need to be vengeful, we need to be merciful. We don’t need to throw spears back at them. We need to pray for them.
This Daily Devotional is an excerpt from the book “Footsteps of the Flock” by Pastor Jon. “Footsteps of the Flock” is a collection of 365 short devotions from the Old Testament books of Joshua through Malachi. If you would like your own copy of “Footsteps of the Flock” you may visit the online SearchLight Store