Stooping Down (Psalm 51:1)

God’s mercy: we talk about it, read about and even sing about it.  But what is it?  I know that you may have coined phrases and shoot from the hip definitions for this term, but have you ever personally tried to define it?

In Psalm 51, David cries out to the Lord for mercy.  The definition of the Hebrew word for mercy means ” to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior”.  Think about it.  Whenever God shows mercy towards us, he, in the splendor of his high exalted state, stoops down to you and me.

Why would such an exalted being be willing to perform such a humbling task?  He does this because of his loving kindness.  As a loving expectant mother feels love in the womb for her child, our Heavenly Father experiences the same towards us.  This form of love is described as tender mercy and it is this tender mercy that moves him to stoop down.

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (Psalms 51:1)

When you pray, God stoops down to answer and meet your needs,  When you need help, he stoops down to give you strength and when you fall, he even stoops down to pick you up.  He stooped down to become man and stooped down even further to become our sin bearer. If you think about it, possibly the greatest manifestation of God’s love is his stooping down.

Thanks be to God for his mercy.

Loving Kindness and Tender Mercy (Psalm 51:1)

Mercy occurs because of what is in God and is not brought on or motivated by the need of a helpless transgressor.

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (Psalms 51:1)

God’s mercy or act of having pity towards man is based on his loving kindness and tender mercies. Loving kindness occurs when he displays favor towards someone. An example of this is found in the book of Esther. When the uninvited Queen Esther approached the King, the King showed loving kindness by putting forth the sceptre and receiving her. Similarly, this is God’s response to man. But even greater than loving kindness is tender mercy. Tender mercy comes from a word meaning the womb or the bowels. As the tender love of a mother towards the baby that she carries, so is God’s love towards us. In spite of us falling into sin, he yearns deeply inside for us. It is this deep yearning that causes him to exercise mercy towards us.

Many times when we wrong people, we try to perform actions that may turn their heart to forgive us. With God it is not necessary. By tender mercy he takes the first step and reaches out to man. It is his tender mercy that brings conviction, repentance and confession. If it were not for his loving kindness and tender mercy we would be without hope.

As you grow in grace, allow God to develop this loving kindness and tender mercy towards those around you. As long as you continue to focus on yourself and your own needs, you will never reach this state. However when you esteem others better than yourself and look on the needs of them as stated in Philippians 2:4, you will begin to grow into the image of Christ.

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (Philippians 2:4)

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