There are things that must be separated, and there are things that belong together and should not be kept apart. The wheat must be separated from the chaff. But that kernel of wheat must not be cut off from rain and sunshine, if it is to produce more grain for man.
Similarly God’s mercy and His justice go hand in hand. If we take that justice away, we make mercy impossible. God’s mercy is only upon those whose sins have been blotted out by the blood of Christ. David declares this in Psalm 101:1 with these words: “I will sing of mercy and of judgment: unto thee, O Lord. will I sing. ”
David had been stopped in his improper attempt to bring the ark back to the tabernacle. God slew Uzzah for touching that ark, II Samuel 6:7. Here was God’s judgment or justice. But there also was mercy. David made an arro-gant, improper attempt to move the ark with an army rather than by the priests. God did not slay him, but in mercy saved his life. For David’s sins were blotted out by the blood of Christ. God’s justice was satisfied and David could be dealt with in mercy. He could with thankfulness sing:
Of mercy and of justice My thankful song shall be;
O Lord, in joyful praises My song shall rise to Thee.
Within Thy house I purpose To walk in wisdom’s way:
O Lord, I need Thy presence;
How long wilt Thou delay?
Yes, the ark belonged in that tabernacle and David was right in wanting to have God’s presence typically there in the tabernacle. But justice always calls for punishment upon sin. And mercy can be shown only when sin is removed, its guilt being taken from someone.
Thank God then for the gift of His Son whose birthday we celebrated a few days ago. Thank Him for the cross that blotted out our guilt, so that we could taste and enjoy God’s mercy. Sing of God’s mercy; but by all means sing also of His strict justice that makes His mercy possible for us poor sinners. Without the cross Christ’s birth has no value for us.
Read: II Samuel 6:1-19
Psalter versification: 271:1
This devotional was written by Rev. Heys and published by the Reformed Book Outlet.