God Disciplines with Mercy
Daily Bible Reading – 2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21; Psalm 30; 1 Thessalonians 2
Today’s Key Passage – 1 Chronicles 21:1-19
Once when I was about eight years old or so I was particularly bad and my parents grounded me for two weeks. During this time, I was not allowed to go outside and play, which in my mind was just about the worst punishment imaginable. Sometime during this two-week period, my family and I went to my grandmother’s house on a Sunday afternoon to visit her, my aunt and uncle, and my cousins. I can still remember standing inside my grandmother’s house starting out the window watching my brother and my cousins playing outside. I was devastated. All I wanted in the world was to go outside and play, but I knew that I was grounded and I knew better than to ask to go outside. At some point, though, my father came to me and told me to go outside and play. I was given a temporary reprieve from my well-deserved punishment for one simple reason – even while being disciplined, my parents still showed mercy. In today’s key passage, we see that our Father in Heaven does the exact same thing.
David decided to take a census of all of the fighting men in Israel. Normally, this might not have been a problem, but David wanted the men counted so that he could feel pride in the strength of his army. Following all of the success he and his men had in war, David was beginning to trust his own military strength more than he trusted God. Because of David’s sin, God spoke to Gad, David’s seer, and told him to offer David a choice of three different punishments. David could choose between three years of famine, three months of war, or three days of plague in the land. Before we continue, let me just point out that this alone was merciful of God. He did not have to give David a choice about his correction, but He did because of His mercy. David chose the three days of plague, because it was the one option that was a direct punishment from God. He told Gad, “Let me fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.” (Vs. 13) Once David had chosen his punishment, God sent a plague that killed 70, 000 men. In verse 15 we read, “And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But as the angel was doing so, the LORD saw it and was grieved because of the calamity and said to the angel who was destroying the people, ‘Enough! Withdraw your hand.'” Even though David sinned against God and deserved to be disciplined, God had mercy on him and the people of Israel.
When we act in sinful ways and we do not repent and turn from that sin, sometimes God has to discipline us. He does this not to punish us but to correct us and to help us see the error of our ways and return to Him. If He did not, He would not be a loving and concerned Father. Just as we discipline our own children for their welfare, so does our heavenly Father lovingly correct His children for their benefit. One thing that is certain, though, is that even when He has to discipline us, He will still show us mercy. This perfect mercy of God is just one of the many characteristics that make our God so awesome. The next time you receive a gentle correction from God, remember his amazing mercy, and praise Him for it.
During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you? Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.
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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.
Posted on May 13, 2013, in 13 - 1 Chronicles and tagged Backsliding, Bible, Christian, Daily Bible, Daily Devotional, God, God's Character, Jesus, Religion, Repentance, Sin. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.