David the great psalmist mentions some of God’s many attributes in Psalm 145

and these include grace, compassion, perseverance and great mercy. In verse 9

of the Psalm he testifies:

The Lord is good to all and

his tender mercies are over all

his works

Paul the Apostle also affirms that God is rich in mercy, Eph. 2:4. And for good

reason. Were God to be a human judge He would have sentenced Paul to a

miserable prison term, and spiritual death, on account of his destructive

opposition to Jesus and His ministry but he received mercy, 1 Tim. 1:12 & 13.

God showed mercy to Paul because his sinful opposition to the gospel was

done in ignorance. He thought he was defending the Jewish religion against

Jesus and his “co-rebels,” But He got it all wrong and he later regretted his

actions. Act. 26:9-11.

However, not every sinner receives pardon. God’s amazing goodwill and

honour to Eli, making him to serve as priest 1 Sam. 2:27-28, but he stupidly

allowed his sons to dececrate the alter, 1 Sam. 2:12-17; 22-25.

To make matters worse when God confided His decision to punish Eli he did

not ask for mercy, 1 Sam. 3:11-14. When the punishment came it was severe,

Eli and his sons perished 1 Sam. 4:12-18.

The case of king Saul was a particularly bad one. When the children of Israel

insisted on having a king to rule over them, given their unhappy experience

with their judges, Samuel’s sons God reluctantly agreed to give them one, 1

Sam. 8:1-7.

And the appointee was Saul, 1 Sam. 9:15 & 16. By his own admission Saul really

did not qualify to be elected king since he came from the smallest tribe in Israel

and the least of all the families in that tribe, verse 21. Yet God honoured him, 1

Sam. 10:1.

But in the course of his reign he did not consistently obey God, a situation

which was to Him, offensive and intolerable. God deprived Saul of His spirit, his

presence and eventually his throne and life. He did not show mercy,

Can a sinner expect mercy?

David was the youth who, without military experience, confronted and

defeated Israel’s formost enemy Goliath of Gath, for daring to challenge the

armies of the living God, 1 Sam. 17:36. Yet as king he broke the Law, Ex.

20:13&14 and God cursed him such that he spent the rest of his days mostly in

adversity. Even then he ultimately received mercy. Why? God probably

remembered his faithful service to Him, his refusal to take revenge on his

relentless adversary king Saul twice, on the grounds that he was the anointed

of God. The honour was to God and not to Saul 1 Sam. 24:3-6, 1 Sam. 26:7-9.

Moreover, he repented genuinely to the extent that the heart of God must

have been touched, Ps. 22 & Ps. 51.

He was severely punished but God saved his soul, Rev. 22:16.

It is not just individuals who benefits from God’s tender mercy but nations and,

indeed, the entire human race. God’s message to the people Nineveh portend

one thing – total destruction for their sin. And Jonah the Prophet expected

nothing else but the people, king and all, repented and, to the

disappointment of Jonah God, the merciful, granted them reprieve, Jonah 3:4-

10, Jonah 4:1-3.

As for the human race, the work of God’s hand, He cursed Adam and Eve when

they allowed satan to deceive them and He drove them out of the Garden of

Eden, Gen. 3:23&24. But then he did not totally abandon them and their seed.

He sent his begotten son, Jesus Christ to redeem them. He had the option to

amply destroy but He never took that option, John 3:16&17. Rather He allowed

representatives of sinful humanity to shed the blood of His son so that they

would have a chance of returning to the heavenly Eden if they believe in Him,

Rom. 3:23-25