It’s true that I have a nice alliteration thing going with the title of today’s devotional, but I assure you I really do marvel at God’s mercy. Many years ago I read this passage of Scripture and was a bit taken aback by the mercy God showed Ahab, one of the kings of Israel (imagine Frenchy from Grease saying, “With the worst reputation”).
Ahab was bad news all around. I remember being taught the stories of Ahab and Jezebel (you likely at least have heard her name), but I didn’t recall this part of Ahab’s story. Just go back a couple verses and you’ll read that “there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up” (1 Kings 21:25). As a matter of fact, he “did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him (1 Kings 16:30).
Ahab had nearly all of God’s prophets put to death, because they never had anything good to say about him. He built an image of a false god and worshiped that image, he consulted with prophets of Baal, and even after God revealed His power and authority in a miraculous way against these prophets of Baal, Ahab allowed Jezebel to go after God’s prophet Elijah in an attempt to have him killed. In spite of the incredible wealth he already had, Ahab coveted and stole another man’s property by having him put to death (1 Kings 21).
It was at this point that Ahab was warned of the calamity that was in store for him, because of his sin. Ahab was about to lose his bloodline – no future generation would survive and Ahab himself was warned that “dogs shall lick your blood, even yours” (1 Kings 21:19).
In response to this warning, Ahab finally did what he should have done long ago. He repented and humbled himself before God. Because of this, God showed mercy to Ahab. I had a hard time wrapping my head around this one, especially since I knew Ahab was going to revert back to his evil ways soon after this. Of course, God knew this, too. However, God knew that at this time, Ahab was sincerely repentant and humble before God. God’s mercy is marvelous, and I do mean that literally.
Never wait to seek God’s mercy, because He has chosen to offer it do us without hesitation. His mercy is so great that there is nothing we can do that is too big for God’s mercy to handle. We simply need to repent and humble ourselves before God. If His mercy was available to Ahab, it surely is available to us. I cannot help but marvel at this.