Mercy before judgment!?


What do you sense the Lord saying to you in this passage?

“May they be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace.” (Psalm 83:17)
This psalm becomes a problem for us as followers of Jesus.
Asaph wants God to punish their enemies, to make them suffer and die.
On the one hand, I understand and appreciate the cry of the oppressed.
God will judge us all for the things that need to be judged, with justice!
But if justice is the only response, then will I pass God’s test?
My insisting that sinners be punished will come back to haunt me too.
“Cover their faces with shame, so that they will seek your name.” (Psalm 83:16)
This is what we all need, to face our own shame so we can seek God’s help.
Without denying the wicked out there, I have to face my own ‘wicked’ in me.
Jesus came to lovingly expose our shame with God’s undeserved grace and mercy.
And Jesus sends us to continue his work, to bless our enemies to repentance.
Sadly, too often the church has joined Satan in his work of condemnation.
But I can’t judge Asaph or the church for this; I’ve got to look at my own heart.
May I not be a person of judgment, but a person of radical mercy, like God has shown me.
Lord, help me to face my own shame for being judgmental and critical. And help me to learn what it means to bless – not curse – sinners!


  1. How do I see God? He is in charge – he is the judge over creation – He is sovereign – yet He gives us a lot of rope – a lot of freedom – we go far down the wrong path. God has a lot of patience – but as the Psalmist concludes: “Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord—that you alone are the Most High over all the earth” – we all need to answer to the Lord. Thank you Lord for your patience with me. I know I deserve all the consequences and punishment the Psalmist refers to. God is the judge – not I – so I must have patience too – so that others may come to know and seek the Lord.

  2. The bottom line is that the peoples need to seek the Lord God. His way needs to be known and lived. In times like these, may that also happen – that the peoples return to the name of the Lord Who alone an rescue his people if they but return to Him. It is our Father’s world. Serve Him and may others see that I serve Him always.

    If you but trust in God to guide you,
    And place your confidence in Him,
    You’ll find Him always there beside you
    To give you hope and strength within;
    For those who trust God’s changeless love
    Build on the Rock that will not move.
    Only be still and wait His pleasure
    In cheerful hope, with heart content:
    He fills your needs to fullest measure
    With what discerning love has sent;
    Doubt not our inmost wants are known
    To Him who chose us for His own.
    Sing, pray, and keep His ways unswerving,
    Offer your service faithfully,
    And trust His word; though undeserving,
    You’ll find His promise true to be;
    God never will forsake in need
    The soul that trusts in Him indeed.

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