Psalm 119 is about those laws that God has given us to live by. But most importantly, this chapter is about the mercy of God.
Believers sin every day. No matter how hard we try, we are incapable of living a sinless life. We need to try with all our might to follow God’s laws and beg for His mercies as we fail.
(119:33, 41, 64)
Early in Scripture, God wanted man to know of His mercy. So He instructed Moses on how to build the mercy seat, complete with elaborate details about how the ark was to be designed and what materials were to be used (Ex. 25:17-22). This ark was a symbol of God’s throne, a place from which He would speak to Moses (Num. 7:89). The gold-covered mercy seat signified the sovereignty of God over the Israelites. On this mercy seat, the high priest would sprinkle the blood of a goat or lamb for sacrifice on the annual Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:15). The blood was an essential part of asking for forgiveness and cleansing of sins.
The crimson stream of blood that flows from Calvary is the secret of our salvation. That blood is not the blood of goats, cows, oxen, or lambs. That blood is the blood of Jesus. Only the precious blood of Jesus could save our souls (see Eph. 1:7). Because of God’s mercy, He sent His Son to earth to be our blood sacrifice.
Jesus was mighty, and He was merciful. Tender mercy drove Him from the balconies of heaven to a stinking manger filled with cattle, donkeys, and goats. Tender mercy compelled Him to kneel beside a prostitute and say, “Your sins are forgiven.” The religious, the pompous, the Pharisees, the lords of legalism wanted to kill her. But the merciful Savior forgave her.
His tender mercy stopped a funeral procession to raise the widow’s son back to life. His tender mercy caused Him to touch the rotting flesh of lepers. His tender mercy drove Him to Samaria to minister to the social outcasts. Tender mercy caused Him to weep over Jerusalem in the Garden of Gethsemane. Tender mercy compelled the Creator to allow the created to bind His hands and lead Him to a trial of mockery. Mercy commanded that He allow Roman hands to drive nails through His hands and feet. He had the power to call ten thousand angels to destroy the world, but mercy formed the final words of His parched lips, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).
The price of mercy is not a massive collection of rubies, diamonds, sapphires, pearls, gold, and silver. The price of mercy is blood. If it were not for a loving Savior who was sacrificed for us, we could not look to the future with hope.
In the Beatitudes, Christ said, "Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy" (Matt. 5:7).
The first outward demonstration that God has turned the heart of stone into a heart for God is the gushing out of torrents of mercy. Merciless church members are the Pharisees of the 21st century. When Satan can take the mercy out of Christian conduct, he kills Christian witness.
Mercy manifests itself through forgiveness. It looks for a way to forgive the unforgivable. Jesus said,
Mercy manifests itself by restoring those who have fallen into sin. The religiously pious will say, “Kick him out of the church. Forget about him.” Paul said, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Gal. 6:1).
Psalm 119 recognizes that no matter how hard we try to keep all the laws, we will break them. When we do, we need to seek God’s forgiveness.
God is looking for a way to show a broken, battered, and bruised society His boundless mercy. We are His messengers.
May the miracle of mercy explode in our souls.