In last week’s devotional on the nearness of God, I didn’t have room to share two verses from the book of Proverbs that came to mind: “For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he ponders all his paths” (5:21) and “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (15:3). This week I am thinking that it can be a fearful thing to know of our Creator being so near when we are so sinful, except for one comforting truth about God—He is merciful. God does not give us what we deserve immediately; He gives us time to repent!
God’s mercy is revealed throughout the Biblical record and all of history. We can see His mercy in the first few pages of the Bible when after Adam and Eve first sinned and tried to hide themselves, God sought them first. The first hint of the gospel message was made in the promise of a descendent (seed) that would break Satan’s head and bruise the Seed’s heal (Genesis 3:15 –Geneva Bible). Furthermore, God clothed Adam and Eve in skins from the death of a substitute. These earliest foreshowings of the Gospel would be expanded upon and clarified over and over again as God revealed His plan of salvation through the progressive revelation given through inspired men and now compiled and preserved in the Holy Scriptures—The Bible.
The Prophet Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 4:31, “For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.” You don’t have to read long in the history of God’s chosen people and the lineage of the Messiah to behold the merciful hand of God. As with them, so it is with us. We would have no hope of salvation from sin without the mercy of God.
God demonstrated over and over again in the Old Testament narrative the truth expressed by the Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Chronicles 30:9 is one such Old Testament example, “For if you return to the LORD, your brothers and your children will find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the LORD your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.”
The psalmist of Psalm 116 rejoices and revels in the mercy of God:
I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!” Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful (vs.1-5 ESV).
Do you love God because of His mercy to you? Do you rejoice and revel in God’s mercy? Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven–for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47 ESV)
I agree with a friend who recently shared a comment like this, “You really can’t understand the mercy of God until you see the holiness of God and His righteous justice.” We will soon be meditating on the truths that God is Holy and God is Just! Have a great week!
With Prayer, Mark © February, 2011
Check out this link for some more thoughts and selected verses on God’s Mercy: