“Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life…” (Psalm 23:6 NLT)
Mercy is the unconditional love of God. This beautiful word is found three hundred and sixty-six times in the Bible. (Perhaps God wants us to know we need His unconditional love, every day of the year – and He even covers Leap Year!) Many people think we don’t hear about the mercy of God in the Bible until we get to the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. However, two hundred and eighty of these references to the mercy of God are found in the Old Testament.
My favorite Old Testament reference to the mercy of God is found in the last verse of the Twenty-third Psalm. David ends his greatest Psalm with the declaration that he is positively certain the mercy of God will follow him all the days of his life. The Hebrew word he uses here for “follow” is a word that can also be translated “pursue.” David brings the most profound and eloquent description of the relationship between God and man ever written to a conclusion by making the declaration that the unconditional love of God will pursue him all the days of his life. By application, this is true for any of us who will confess our sins.
There are so many ways to fail. When we understand the meaning of the mercy of God, however, we should realize that we cannot possibly out-fail His mercy. As I place my failures on a scale, I like to place all those times the Bible uses the word “mercy” on the scale opposite my failures. I invite you to do the same thing no matter how horrible you think your sins are.