“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luke 18:13)
How often, how many times are we compelled to say that about ourselves, to ask the Lord to be merciful to us. Some might say after only the most atrocious of sins, others when we have fallen, no matter how far, to some, nearly constantly do these words pass their lips.
I don’t know why that man was at the wall that day, face downtrodden, begging for mercy, what his day had been like to draw him to that particular spot, I just know that his heart was speaking, for Jesus said of him, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)
There is something that seems to be missing from much of the world this day, from the lost it is expected, but from those who seek the face of God it is almost a sin. A broken spirit, a heart that realizes in all truth that only because of the Lord Jesus Christ are we forgiven, only because of what He did on the cross are we able to approach the Most High. We come boldly to the throne of grace on our faces, or at least we should.
“Whose mercy endureth forever.” You may pick any number of places in the Scriptures to put a reference verse here, for the Word of God is about mercy, from the Almighty’s actions towards Adam and Eve to those who will walk into eternity after the Millennial Period is complete. “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” (Lam. 3:22)
God is merciful, He lifts up those who abase themselves before Him, He is merciful enough to teach those who will listen just what humility means in the light of a Holy, righteous and just God, what the word “Sovereign” means, and the only One to whom it can be applied. I am going to go out on a limb here, if you will, and say that every single human being ever born will experience this greatest of humilities, whether in this life or in the one to come, no matter if that is in heaven or hell, God is going to show us individually and in a way that is unquestionable who is Sovereign and who is not.
The man at the wall that day understood this, it did not matter what drew him there that day, he didn’t even notice the other one that the Lord brought up, he had one conviction, only one thing mattered to him, seek the face of the Most High and beg Him with all his soul to forgive him. Unless you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, you cannot cast all your cares upon Him.
I fear that many today wait to act in such a way until it is necessary to react to the situation, they do not ask the Lord to be merciful to them as a matter of course of their lives, but only when the tables are turned against them, only when the circumstances are dire and there is no place left to go.
My friends, you have no problems that are either too big or too small to bring before the throne of grace, there is nothing that you have done that if you cry out to Him with that broken and contrite heart, a heart broken in repentance that He will not be merciful. The temptation you have fallen into, the sin you have committed can and will be forgiven, if you ask in humility, if you truly mean what you say.
The man at the wall that day walked there with a burden upon him he could no longer bear, he was broken, and I would presume that he did not even feel worthy to ask for that mercy. But it was given. You can do the same.