Boundless Mercy

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Two-minute read.

“When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.”

1 Kings 21:27

Boundless mercy.

King Ahab wanted Naboth’s plot of land to plant a vegetable garden. Naboth didn’t want to part with his family’s inheritance, so he declined the king’s offer to purchase or replace the parcel. When Jezebel, Ahab’s wife, learns of the problem, she instantly begins scheming and eventually has Naboth and his sons stoned, giving the king the land. God sent His prophet Elijah to condemn the couple; they would experience a terrible death by dogs at the very place where Naboth had died.

Hearing God’s message, Ahab tore his clothes, fasting and praying, seeking God’s boundless mercy, which he received. Jezebel, a non-believer, did not, dying a gruesome death. Sincerely remorseful, Elijah’s message influenced Ahab and caused him to repent. However, no evidence exists that the king’s character changed, producing goldy repentance and genuine faith. Ahab didn’t appear to alter his idolatrous ways, yet God graciously extended boundless mercy to a thankless generation.

How often, when in crisis, do we plead with God for mercy, only to return to our old ways once we receive it? People have short memories; once the challenge disappears, so does our loyalty. True repentance comes with a character change. Our actions will reflect our hearts:

“As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.” Proverbs 27:19

Living with the Holy Spirit in our hearts will change our actions. People will see the difference. We will no longer live for ourselves, instead putting God and others first. Generosity will begin to mark our actions, love will flow freely, and as we receive the Lord’s boundless mercy, we will let it flow from our hearts to those around us. 

Scrolling through Facebook, I saw an anonymous meme that said, “The best apology is changed behavior.” Truly repentant hearts change their actions, becoming more like Jesus. A favorite prayer of mine contains six words, “More of You, less of me.” My fleshly desires have a strong will, but God’s Spirit within me transforms my outward actions. Only when we submit and obey will we find actual change and exhibit Godly behavior. Without the Lord, we remain the same; with Him, we can change the world.

Journal Questions:

  • How can I apply today’s devotion to my life?
  • What area of my life must I submit to the Lord?
  • How do my actions reflect my heart?


Lord, thank You for giving us boundless mercy despite our wicked ways. Help us become more like You with every day that passes, denying our fleshly desires, picking up our crosses, and following You.  Transform our lives as You transform our hearts, helping us to overcome the flesh and live in the Spirit. IJNIP. Amen

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