THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2016
BE MERCIFUL AS GOD IS MERCIFUL
1 Samuel 24:3-21
Saul was hunting down David, who had fled. David had no longer
any refuge in Saul’s kingdom, now finding refuge only
in a cave. David was Saul’s right hand, but now that
he had turned against him, who could David turn to? Only God.
So David prayed, “Have mercy on me, God, have mercy
on me. In you I seek refuge.” (Ps 57:2a).
is like the powers-that-be in today’s kingdoms, including
governments themselves, that seek to destroy what is important
to us -- faith, family and life. When governments themselves
become oppressive, who can we turn to? Only God. “I
call to God Most High, to God who provides for me.”
the whole world is under the dominion of the evil one, when
traditional faith and values are collapsing all around us,
when we are being overwhelmed by a tsunami of evil, where
can we turn to? Certainly not to worldly or secular powers.
“I must lie down in the midst of lions hungry for human
prey.” (Ps 57:5a). We can only look up and seek God’s
mercy. “May God send help from heaven to save me, shame
those who trample upon me. May God send fidelity and mercy.”
we have received God’s mercy. Jesus died for us and
won our salvation even when we were, and still are, sinners.
What is mercy? It is withholding the punishment due to one
who has transgressed. God is merciful to us. But here it is:
we also need to be merciful to others. Part of that is we
are told to love our enemies. What? I would rather cut them
them down! But then, what if God thought the same way? He
was merciful to me, I should be merciful to others.
is what David did. Saul was relentlessly hunting him down
with 3,000 men (1 Sm 24:3). Then he had to take a comfort
break in a cave, where David and his men were (1 Sm 24:4).
David could have killed him right there and then, and his
men were in fact ready to attack Saul, but David held them
back (1 Sm 24:5,7-8). He showed mercy to Saul. “I was
told to kill you, but I took pity on you instead.” (1
Sm 24:11b). That is the definition of mercy.
grace goes with mercy. They are two sides of the same coin.
They are both manifestations of love. The God who is love
is rich in mercy and is gracious. Grace is giving to the other
person the good that he does not deserve. How did David extend
grace to Saul? He not only did not kill him, which is mercy,
but he also still spoke well of and looked kindly on him.
“I decided, ‘I will not raise a hand against my
master, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’”
(1 Sm 24:11c). That is mercy and grace together. Saul himself
saw this. He said to David, “You have treated me graciously,
while I have treated you badly.” (1 Sm 24:18b). Saul
saw how completely against human ways that is. “For
if someone comes upon an enemy, do they send them graciously
on their way?” (1 Sm 24:20). Yes, if they are merciful.
how the world will change if there is mercy? So Jesus came
in the Father’s mercy and became the icon of mercy to
us, as he hangs crucified. But Jesus came for all, not just
for us. And so we need to extend that mercy to others. So
Jesus, at the very start of his public ministry but knowing
the work would have to go on after he returns to heaven, appointed
his core group. “He went up the mountain and summoned
those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed twelve
(whom he also named apostles) that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach.” (Mk 3:13-14).
They would accompany him, learn the ropes so to speak, and
then be sent forth to do what he was doing, “to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons” (Mk 3:14b-15).
we too are chosen, and summoned to himself, and appointed,
and anointed, and given authority, and sent forth. We too
are apostles. We can be anyone, from any background, with
varying capabilities – fishermen, tax collectors, insurgents,
doubters, even one who eventually became a traitor. We are
tasked to spread God’s mercy, by first bringing people
to Christ, through the work of evangelization. We work such
that the God of mercy will extend His dominion over the whole
of creation. We look above to the God who is mercy: “Be
exalted over the heavens, God; may your glory appear above
all the earth.” (Ps 57:6). Then we look to all peoples:
“I will praise you among the peoples, Lord; I will chant
your praise among the nations.” (Ps 57:10). God wants
them to experience His mercy.
the world experience the salvation of God. May all nations
experience the love, mercy and grace of the Lord. Let us do
our share to make this happen, and truly give honor and glory
to God. “For your mercy towers to the heavens; your
faithfulness reaches to the skies.” (Ps 57:11).