The God of Mercy

Yael Eckstein  |  February 12, 2023

Yael smiling with elderly woman in Ukraine

Many are saying of me,
    “God will not deliver him.”

But you, LORD, are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
—Psalm 3:2-3

We start out every week with an inspirational lesson from the beloved Psalms. For centuries, these ancient poems of King David and others have been the foundation for Jewish and Christian worship. Enjoy!

On one of my trips to Ukraine doing the work of The Fellowship, I was speaking with an elderly Jewish man. His health was not the greatest and he lived in terrible conditions. When I gave him the package from The Fellowship, he was shocked.

I explained to him that this is a gift from people who have faith in God. I explained that one of the ways they live out their faith is by caring for people like him. His response shook me: “I don’t deserve to be helped by God.” He went on to tell me that he lived his life with no faith and no practice of Jewish tradition. He told me that if I knew what he did in his past, I wouldn’t think he was worthy either.

I sat quietly for a minute and then answered. “God’s help, and the help of those who have faith in God, is not about who’s deserving. It’s about helping those in need. God loves you and He knows how you lived. All God wants is for you to have faith in Him.”

God’s mercy extends to all of us.

The God of Mercy

We see the lesson that God’s love and mercy is not dependent on any human idea of “worthiness” in Psalm 3: “Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’ But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” Look at the names of God in these two verses. In the first verse God is called “God,” Elohim in Hebrew. But then, immediately after, He is called “LORD,” Adonai.

According to Jewish tradition, the name Elohim refers to God as He appears in the natural order. In fact, this is the only name of God used in the Creation story in Genesis 1. Because this name is associated with the natural order, it also implies rational cause and effect, and the attribute of justice. On the other hand, the name of God in the second verse is Adonai, the personal and loving side of God, the God of mercy.

David is saying that those who looked at him concluded that he was unworthy of God’s deliverance. David’s response is that while it may be true based on pure justice that he is not worthy of God’s help, the LORD — the God of mercy — will save him.

Your Turn:

Do you ever feel unworthy of God’s help? Remember that it’s not about worthiness. God loves you and will be there for you so long as you put your faith in Him.

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