Douglas Wilson on mercy

This sermon shows why I enjoy reading Douglas Wilson’s writing. A good mix of sound theology, humour, and wordsmithing.

Consider the contrasts used in the introduction

David seeks to get away from Saul, but he cannot get away from his anointing. He can evade Saul, but he cannot evade the fact that a new Israel is going to start to form around him. David goes into the wilderness and finds a throne. Saul goes to his throne and finds a wilderness.

And his summary of the text,

And so David came to be afraid of Achish (v. 12), and so pretended to be insane (v. 13). And Achish was fooled (v. 14), and delivers one of the great lines of Scripture (v. 15).

Incidentally the verse is

Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?

Here he deals with the dilemma of lying,

If you were standing at a crossroads, and a screaming woman ran by, and then about five minutes later, a lunatic with furious eyes and an axe ran up, demanding to know “which way she went,” I trust that all of you here would lie like a Christian. 

And here, childhood discipline,

Kids, if your mom asks if you made your bed, and you reply that you did (even though you did not), you cannot fix it by appealing to the Hebrew midwives, or to the faithful deception that Rahab used. You should get swats a couple times—once for the lie, and the other time for the faulty hermeneutic.

Finishing with a fine explanation of mercy triumping over justice,

The second is the authority of mercy. Mercy does not negate authority; mercy has authority.

Do not confuse this. Mercy is not what happens when your standards fall apart. Laziness in discipline is not mercy. Mercy is what happens when your standards are outranked. Mercy stands taller than justice.

All in all an enjoyable and educational read.

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