Grace is when God gives us gifts that we don’t deserve. Mercy is when he doesn’t give us what we deserve.
1 Samuel 30:1-31
David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it, 2 and had taken captive the women and everyone else in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way.
3 When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. 5 David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.
7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek, “Bring me the ephod.” Abiathar brought it to him, 8 and David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” “Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.”
9 David and the six hundred men with him came to the Besor Valley, where some stayed behind. 10 Two hundred of them were too exhaustedto cross the valley, but David and the other four hundred continued the pursuit.
11 They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat— 12 part of a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of raisins. He ate and was revived, for he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and three nights.
13 David asked him, “Who do you belong to? Where do you come from?” He said, “I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago. 14 We raided the Negev of the Kerethites, some territory belonging to Judah and the Negev of Caleb. And we burned Ziklag.” 15 David asked him, “Can you lead me down to this raiding party?” He answered, “Swear to me before God that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master, and I will take you down to them.”
16 He led David down, and there they were, scattered over the countryside, eating, drinking and reveling because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from Judah. 17 David fought them from dusk until the evening of the next day, and none of them got away, except four hundred young men who rode off on camels and fled. 18 David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. 19 Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back. 20 He took all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock, saying, “This is David’s plunder.”
21 Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow him and who were left behind at the Besor Valley. They came out to meet David and the men with him. As David and his men approached, he asked them how they were. 22 But all the evil men and troublemakers among David’s followers said, “Because they did not go out with us, we will not share with them the plunder we recovered. However, each man may take his wife and children and go.”
23 David replied, “No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the Lord has given us. He has protected us and delivered into our hands the raiding party that came against us. 24 Who will listen to what you say? The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.” 25 David made this a statute and ordinance for Israel from that day to this.
26 When David reached Ziklag, he sent some of the plunder to the elders of Judah, who were his friends, saying, “Here is a gift for you from the plunder of the Lord’s enemies.” 27 David sent it to those who were in Bethel, Ramoth Negev and Jattir;28 to those in Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa 29 and Rakal; to those in the towns of the Jerahmeelites and the Kenites; 30 to those in Hormah, Bor Ashan, Athak 31 and Hebron; and to those in all the other places where he and his men had roamed.
Recently, our friends gave us a car. You read that right, a CAR! I don’t think I’ve properly thanked them for it yet because: a) I don’t quite believe it to be true, b) I’m at loss at what to say, and c) I don’t feel like I deserve it.
David, the King who was just a shadow of the true King, showed the true heart of God when he chose to share the plunder even with the 200 men that had been too exhausted to follow him to take back what had been stolen from them. The men who were against David sharing the plunder with them were called ‘evil men’ and ‘troublemakers’.
Isn’t that a bit harsh? They have a point, I mean I’ve been upset over much less in my life. Take group assignments at school or uni for example. How often were there those people who didn’t put in any effort into the assignment, yet when ‘judgement day’ came, they all got the same score as the ones that had put their sweat and tears into the assignment. Isn’t it justified to feel anger and bitterness towards them?
David had the right attitude. He didn’t consider the plunder his own as it had been given to him by the Lord. The list of gifts God gives to us is inexhaustible. James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift is from above. God, through Jesus, has given us a gift that we don’t deserve. We don’t deserve grace. We haven’t earned his mercy. We have done nothing to be called his children.
My generous friends were showing God’s character and being conduits of His blessing to us. While I will never be able to repay to God what He has done to me, I am encouraged to have this same attitude towards the people around me. Freely I have received, freely I should give.
Head: When I survey the wonderous cross, on which the Prince of glory died.
Heart: See from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down! Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Hands: My richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for the grace and mercy you have shown me in my life. Thank you for the salvation that I didn’t deserve. Thank you for saving me and calling me your child when I deserved to die. Forgive me for my selfish and proud heart. Help me be a conduit of your blessing to others around me every day. I want to give you my soul, my life, my all.
A song to listen to: When I Survey
Petrina Rangiawha – Creek Road Presbyterian Church- Carina