“Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” – Micah 7:18-19
I mentioned this passage in the devotional yesterday and was struck by the beauty of the phrase that God “delights to show mercy.”
God’s mercy is not something that is grudgingly given. We don’t twist God’s arm or wear Him down with our pleading until He relents and gives in. It is His “delight”, He desires to show mercy on us and forgive us. He wants to “have compassion on us” and “tread our sins underfoot”.
It gives God joy to forgive us and it brings glory to Him as well. 1 Timothy 1:16 says that it “displays his immense patience”. When you put something on display you draw attention to it for the purpose of showing it off, of glorifying it.
This is the reason Christ came as a babe. So that God would be glorified and to purchase the forgiveness and mercy that He delights to give. The incarnation is the road to the cross, but it is also the road to the resurrection and God hurling “all our iniquities into the depths of the sea”. His incarnation, death, and resurrection are the actions that clear the way for Him to freely show the mercy and grace towards us that brings Him delight.
This is part of what the angels are praising God for on the night of Jesus’s birth. God is being glorified as He fulfills His promise of redemption.
“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” – Luke 2:13-14
Sin is awful. It dishonors holy God and separates us from Him. The price paid for our forgiveness was high, the precious blood of Christ. But that forgiveness is freely given and brings delight to the Lord. Hebrews further drives this point home,
“For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:2b
Let us not miss that our reconciliation with God brings Him joy. Jesus was focused on this joy when He faced the cross. Immanuel did not come to earth so that God could be temporarily with us, but so that God could always be with us. This brings God glory and joy.
God delights to show mercy on you. It is His joy to forgive you. He wants you to be in Him and with Him and He is praised forever because of this and so much more.