Grace and Favor

Rebecca Van Noord

Usually when we seek someone’s goodwill, we emphasize our own winning traits or accomplishments. Our supervisor, significant other, or family members are barraged with a list of our actions in an attempt to get the other to respond in kind. Often this results in a tug-of-war mentality, basing all we deserve on what we give.

But our relationship with God doesn’t follow these rules. God’s mercy isn’t based on what we’ve done—it’s based entirely on His own goodness. The psalmist, realizing this, turns all of his attention to God’s mercy in Psa 25: “Remember your compassion, O Yahweh, and your acts of loyal love, because they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions. According to your loyal love, remember me if you will, for the sake of your goodness, O Yahweh” (Psa 25:6–7).

In this individual lament, the psalmist reaches out to Yahweh with a cry for forgiveness and guidance. Instead of justifying his actions to obtain Yahweh’s favor, the psalmist turns the focus to God’s works and His faithfulness in the past. What he deserves isn’t what he gets—something he is altogether thankful for.

God’s abundant graciousness extends far: from heaven down to earth, where Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sin. We can’t be thankful enough for that great act of mercy. It’s a reason for humility and thankfulness, as the psalmist expresses, and an act of faithfulness to us that we can never return. His mercy should completely transform our concept of what we deserve; it should alter us so much that we treat those around us not with expectations of who they should be for us, but with grace and love, as God treated us.

How are you extending God’s grace to the people around you?

Barry, J. D., & Van Noord, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.