1 KINGS 11:11-12
Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; but I will tear it out of the hand of your son.”
A young employee misappropriated several hundred dollars. When his theft was discovered he was told to report to the office of the firm’s senior partner. The young man knew he would lose his job and possibly face legal action. When he was questioned he admitted his guilt. Then, surprisingly, he was asked, “If I keep you in your present job, can I trust you in the future?” The young worker brightened, “Yes, sir, you surely can.” The executive responded, “I’m not going to press charges, and you can continue in your present responsibility.” He concluded, “I think you ought to know, however, that you are the second man in this firm who succumbed to temptation and was shown leniency. I was the first. The mercy you are receiving, I received. It is only the grace of God that can keep us both.”
Solomon was like that employee. He also was guilty of sin. His foreign wives turned his heart toward other gods. Yet as God confronted this once-faithful king, He showed mercy. He delayed the removal of the kingdom from Solomon until the days of his son Rehoboam, and even then God promised to leave one tribe, Judah, for Solomon’s son to rule.
People will commit sins against us–sometimes grievous sins. Occasionally, those sins require consequences. Yet as we carry out judgment, let’s not forget to be merciful. After all, God didn’t forget mercy when He was dealing with us.
When the need arises, pray that God will not only give you wisdom in meting out to others the consequences of their sin but also give you the grace to show mercy. When judgment becomes necessary, mercy becomes momentous.
IF GODLY JUSTICE DIDN’T INVOLVE GRACIOUS MERCY, WE ALL WOULD BE DOOMED.