Yea, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations; Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go. Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst. Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not. – Nehemiah 9:18-21
This may sound so horrible that you would never consider doing this. However, we do this every time we put something before our service to God. Nehemiah shows, in detail, how God responded to offense after offense with manifold mercy.
When my daughter was little, she used to love playing with little bitty toys, trinkets, and pieces of paper. One of her favorite things to do was to see how many times she could fold up a piece of paper so she could fit it into her pocket. My wife and I used to find countless numbers of pieces of paper in her pockets and in the laundry. It was amazing to unfold these papers that were so tiny because with each opening, the paper would double in size until we found it to be an entire piece of notebook paper!
And so it is with the blessing of mercy from God. We see His merciful hand in our lives at times and we think, “Well, isn’t that a nice blessing.” But then we begin to consider our sin. We see that mercy covered that sin as well. The paper of mercy unfolds. We look back over our lives at the times we weren’t interested in serving the Lord at all. The paper of mercy unfolds before us again. We can see from God’s word that we were even born sinners by nature. The paper of mercy unfolds again.
If we unfold that paper enough times, we will begin to get a glimpse of the mercy that God has had upon us. I say it is only a glimpse because His mercy toward His children as just as infinite as He is.