The Mercies of God
The Mercies of God
I have been thinking a lot recently, about how God has been so Merciful and Gracious unto me. I have been marveling at how Good that He is to me, and how truly unworthy that I am of His Mercy. Do you ever get in this condition? I am sure that you do. But it really is a wonderful thing to consider how Merciful He is. In this message today, I intend to primarily lift up and exalt our Lord. I will not talk too much about our unworthiness, although that will be a part of the message.
I have come to understand that the Higher and the Greater we esteem God, the more Merciful He becomes. For a man or a woman that does not esteem God very highly; or does not have a lofty regard of Him; or that does not understand a little bit about the Sovereignty of God; it is very difficult, for that man or woman, to truly comprehend much about the Depths of the Mercy of God. In other words, a person that believes that he himself has some good in him; or that he himself has some ability; or that he himself plays a role in Grace and Salvation; might not have a proper concept of just how Merciful God is.
Let me read this verse by way of introduction: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1Pet. 1:3.)
In Our Physical Lives
Creation Let me begin this way. Our God is the Creator and our God is completely Sovereign. If we keep these two thoughts in perspective, then we must understand also that everything that is created is a part of the Purpose and Will of our God. We must acknowledge that every aspect of Creation is intended to provide something for God.
It is for this reason, as far as man is concerned, that we can read in Is. 43:20-21, “The beast of the field shall honor me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.” And then we can read also concerning man, the Words that the LORD had for Pharaoh and his people: “For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth. For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” (Ex. 9:14-16.) The Psalmist tells us also, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.” (Ps. 76:10.)
So, we must understand that God is in control, and that His Will is being done in the earth (not His revealed Will towards men as far as His Commandments unto men, but the Hidden Will and secret Purpose of God is being done), and that man, as a part of Creation only plays a part in the further accomplishment of that Will. With this understanding we then read Rom. 9:18, “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” Rather than seeing this as an example of unfairness on the part of God, we should instead see this as an example of the Wonderful Mercy of God! Jacob did not deserve the Mercy of God any more than did Pharaoh or Esau. And yet the Lord was Merciful unto him. Praise the Lord, that He is a God that displays Mercy! Praise the Lord that He created the Creation to reveal His Mercy!
Before we leave off the subject of the Creation, let me also say this: The Creation itself is a means by which the Lord can show His Mercy upon the sons and daughters of men. The Lord Jesus said, “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Mt. 5:45.) The Lord is Merciful in that He causes the sun to shine, and the moon to rise, and the rain to fall. He does all this, and it manifests His Mercy upon the Creation and Mankind.
Health Something else that I have been pondering, is how that God is Merciful unto me in giving me the health that I have. He is merciful to you, too, if you consider it. Our situation could be such that we despair of even life. During the Great Tribulation there will be a time when men will be afflicted and in pain, and will wish that they were dead. We read in Rev. 9:3-6, “And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” Maybe it seems kind of odd to read these verses when I am talking about the Mercy of God, but the point that I am trying to make is that the health that we have is much better than the health that we deserve. Do you think that you and I are any better than those man that will be afflicted by these locusts during the Great Tribulation? Consider what you deserve, and then consider what you have, and you will be amazed at the Mercy of God. David said in Ps. 43:5, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
Provision Not only is the Mercy of the Lord manifest in the Creation and in the Health that He has given us, but remember that He also Provides for us everything that we need. So that, we can always say, no matter the circumstances, “I have enough.” The Lord told the Psalmist, “For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread. I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy. There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed. His enemies will I clothe with shame; but upon himself shall his crown flourish.” (Ps. 132:13-18.) We are told even more plainly, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Mt. 6:25-33.) Just as our health is a gift from God, even so, the wonderful blessings that He provides for us, are demonstrations of His Mercy towards us.
Bounty My last thought, in considering the Mercy of God in our Physical Lives, is this: The Lord not only is Merciful in giving us all of these things that we need, but remember, He is Gracious and Merciful in giving us so much more than we need. His Mercy is overabundant! What other people, race, or nation, has even been so Physically Blessed as this nation and people in which we live today?
Those that are the Lord’s, He will bless. Solomon said, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Honor the LORD with they substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” (Prov. 3:5-10.) Moses told the Children of Israel, “And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day. And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers:” (Deut. 30:8-9.) He doesn’t have to give us more than life itself. That is sufficient cause for us to Worship and Praise Him. But, He rejoices over us to give us great good and plenteous mercy. David said, “For thou, LORD, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” (Ps. 86:5.)
In Our Spiritual Lives
New Creature Just as the birth of our Physical man is a manifestation of the Mercy of God, even so the birth of the Spiritual man is even a greater manifestation of the Mercy of God. You see, the Physical man that He gave life unto, did not worship Him, nor did he repent of his sins. Even so, despite the Ingratitude and Wickedness of the Physical man, God still saw fit to grant Spiritual Life to many from among lost mankind.
Jesus told Nicodemus, “3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (Jn. 3:3-6.) This Salvation (New Birth) did not come because of man’s Goodness or Worth; but, rather, this New Birth came because of the Mercy and Grace of God. “10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (Jn. 1:10-17.) We could say, that Grace, Truth, and Mercy came into the World with Jesus Christ. And, with His Appearance, and as a result of His Ministry, Salvation (New Birth) was inevitably a result that could be observed in the Lives of Miserable and Worthless Mankind.
So, very obviously, the New Creature – the Spiritual Live – that has been created in the lives of those that are the Children of God, is a manifestation of the Mercy and Grace of God.
Faith In our lives as Christians, and as Servants of the Lord, the Lord God is Merciful unto us in that He gives us Faith to Trust and Believe in Him. In the flesh He is Merciful in giving Health unto the Physical man. But the Faith that He gives to the Spiritual man is essential to the Health of the Spiritual man. This Faith is not something that we deserve; it is not even something that we can come to on our own. Rather, this Faith is given to us by a Merciful and Gracious God.
Indeed, the Saving Faith that God gives to those that are His, is always sufficient unto Salvation. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Eph. 2:8.) However, the Lord is Gracious and Merciful, in that He gives more Faith unto us, as we have need of it, and as He has need of us. Why else would the Lord Jesus use the phrase “O ye of little faith?” He uses that phrase in the passage that we have already read in the Beatitudes. He uses that phrase again when He addresses the disciples at the time that He calmed the sea. (See Mt. 8:26.) He uses that phrase again (or one similar to it) when He speaks to Peter after Peter had begun to sink while he was walking on the water. (See Mt. 14:31.) And He uses that phrase after the Feeding of the Four Thousand, as He addressed His own disciples. (See Mt. 16:8.) The point that I am trying to make, is that Faith is given to us to Believe in the Saviour, but after that we are saved, the Health and Strength of our Faith is directly proportionate to the Grace and Mercy of God as He deals with us. We read in Rom. 12:3-6, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.”
As God needs us, and as God intends to use us, He will increase our Faith so that we will be fit and able to accomplish that which He sends us out to do. The Faith of the Inner Man is essential to the Health and Vitality of the Inner Man – just as Food is essential to the Health and Vitality of the Physical Man. God is merciful to us in both capacities.
Growth Just as the Lord is Merciful in sustaining and strengthening the Physical man, He is also Merciful in His Nurture of the Spiritual man. Peter admonishes us this way: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2Pet. 3:18.) The writer of the Hebrews desired that his readers would grow in the Lord. “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb. 5:12-14.) The Growth that we experience in the Lord is due only to His Benevolent Mercy and Grace. We Grow as He teaches us and imparts the Mercies of God and Truth of God unto us. The Psalmist says in the first Psalm concerning the man that is blessed of God, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Ps. 1:3.)
And then, finally, Paul told the Ephesians, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and for, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph. 4:14-16.) Who is it that brings the Joints together? And Who is it that supplies that which every Joint needs and Increases the Body? It is the head even Christ.
Spiritual Abundance We have already considered how that God gives unto the Physical man so much more than he deserves, or even needs. This is evidence of the Super Abundance of the Mercy of God. However, do not forget that God does the same thing for the Spiritual man. He gives us so many Blessings, and His Mercy is so great unto us that we can hardly comprehend His Goodness. “3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” (Eph. 1:3-7.) Not only has He chosen us, but He has set us in His love. (See Eph. 1:4.) Not only has He predestinated us, but he has even Adopted us. (See Eph. 1:5.) Not only has he ordained us to the praise of His glory, but He has also accepted us in the beloved. (See Eph. 1:6.) Not only has He Redeemed us through the blood of Jesus Christ, but He has granted us forgiveness forever from our sins – past, present, and future.
The Mercies of God are evident in our lives – both Physically and Spiritually. When you think about it, the Children of God – those that are Elect from before the foundation of the world – occupy a Unique and Wonderful position in the Creation of God. All men, on some level, must be the beneficiaries of the Mercies of God if they ever take a breath of life. But, only those that are ordained unto Salvation will ever partake of the Mercies of God on a Spiritual level. We will partake of Eternal Life and enjoy God and His blessings for eternity. In reality, this is all that matters. We only use the Mercies of God in our Physical lives as a picture, or a type, of the Mercies and Grace of God that are directed towards us in the Spiritual realm. O, how Merciful and Gracious is our God!
In closing, let me refer you to two final Scriptures on the subject of the Mercies of God.
“Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.” (Ps. 32:10.) “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;” (2Cor. 1:3.)