Sunday 14 September 2014
Speaker: Pastor Yaabari Uebari
Responsive Psalm 136 (NKJV)
God is merciful
Scripture shows clearly that God as merciful.
“And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6 – 7 KJV)
- More expressions showing God’s mercy. His mercy far outweighs his judgment. Mercy lasts forever (repeated several times in Psalm 136 – KJV) but his judgment only to the fourth generation.
- God delights in and is more inclined to mercy than wrath. “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in” Micah 7:18 (NKJV)
- There is a striking revelation of the nature of God and His mercy in Lamentations 3 – that “He is not predisposed to afflict or grieve people”. “He takes no pleasure in causing us grief or pain. The Lord knows when our spirits are crushed in prison” (vs. 33, 34 GNT). “For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.” (Lamentations 3:33 NLT)
This revelation should encourage us to seek the Lord and cry out for His deliverance and justice. There are flashes that go through my mind of God’s intervention for the afflicted: Hagar in Genesis 16; The Israelites in Exodus 2.
- He is slow to anger and ready to forgive (Psalm 103:3; 86:6)
- In 2 Corinthians chapter 1, God is revealed as our merciful Father. “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians. 1:3 NLT) “Father of mercies” – KJV.
- Jesus is revealed in Hebrews 2 as the merciful (compassionate or sympathetic) High Priest. “For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17)
Flowing from God
Mercy flows out of God’s goodness and directs His interaction or behavior toward humankind in relationship, such that He is compassionate, kind, out-giving, revealing and sharing Himself with us. His mercy compels Him to be available to us and places Him at our disposal in covenant. We are therefore able to appeal to His mercy and touch His heart by our prayers.
- In Exodus 25 God instructs Moses to make a “Mercy Seat” (Atonement Cover) from where He will meet with Moses. “You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.” (Exodus. 25:17, 22). It is instructive that at this inauguration of worship and revealing of the pattern of heavenly things God comes in mercy, not judgment. This is the place where God makes the people of Israel ‘His people’ and He became their God. And the meetings were conducted from the mercy seat.
- To ensure that we have the privilege and confidence to relate to Him daily, God supplies a fresh dose of mercy each day. “Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” (Lamentations 3:23 NLT)
- We see the same expression of mercy in Jesus as recorded in the gospels. On many occasions people in need cried out to Jesus saying, “have mercy on us” (Matthew 9:27; 20,30; Mark 10:47- 48) and He responded.
- God is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:2). Through His mercy, God offers salvation to even the worst of sinners. “But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:16 NLT) Titus 3:5 reminds us that salvation is not by works but “according to [God’s] own mercy” and in 1 Peter 1:3 (NLT) we read, “It is by his great mercy that we have been born again”. Jude writes of “the mercy of our Lord Jesus that leads to eternal life” (Jude 21).
God’s mercy withholds punishment from people who deserve it (‘for all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory’) but shows pity, compassion, kindness and provides forgiveness, acceptance, healing, comfort, support, and relief from distress.
What should do with all these or how do we respond?
In at least two ways:
- In obedience to the call of Hebrews 4:16. “Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.” (Hebrews 4:16 NET)
- By extending God’s mercy to others, responding Jesus’ challenge in the gospels (Matthew 5:7; Matthew 18:33; Luke 10:40 – 47). God requires us to walk in mercy (Micah 6:8).