God takes no delight in judgment. When He finds a person willing to assume full responsibility for their transgressions, the Lord can be quick to extend mercy.
David sinned by ordering a census taken of Israel. As a result, he had to choose between seven years of famine, three months of war, or three days of plague. He chose the last option—the most severe but the shortest, lasting only until the evening sacrifice of the first day. The outbreak started in the morning and claimed the lives of 70,000 men.
The plague was short because God is gracious and looks for a way to be merciful. The Lord also found a man who took full blame for his offense. David asked the Lord to chasten him, but not the people. God saw a man with a repentant heart and relented of the full extent of His chastisement.
The purpose of discipline is to bring a change of heart. When that has transpired, there is no further need for the pain of punishment. Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve.
When we embrace God’s righteousness by accepting the consequences of our sin, the Lord can be swift to extend mercy. Never justify your wrong choices or blame-shift them away. Doing so delays the grace of God.
A contrite heart always leads to mercy triumphing over judgment.
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