Tuesday, March 27, 2012

God's Mercy

Lamentations 3:22-23 describes the Father's great yearning for His wayward people:

Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

God's mercy incorporates His covenant of compassion, expressed in His consuming commitment to bring us into everlasting communion with Himself.

His mercy is His compassion toward us even when we deserve punishment, His commitment to restore us even though we deserve to endure the consequences of our sin, and His covenant of love expressed at the point of our greatest foolishness.

Psalm 103 also speaks of God's abundant mercy. If you get time, meditate on this psalm. I won't post it all here due to it's length. Here are seven characteristics of His mercy from this psalm:

1) The QUALITY of His Mercies: Tender. Verse 4 reads, "Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies."

This word for “mercies” is racham, (Strongs # 7256) which also means “womb.” God’s mercy towards us comes from the deepest place where He “births” His love and compassion for us. Often, when this Hebrew word is used for mercy it is preceded by the description “tender” mercies.

2) The ORIGIN of His mercies: The Lord. Verse 8, The Lord is merciful
This verse uses the 2nd Hebrew word for mercy: checed (Sttrong’s #2617 - Used 248 times). This word indicates God’s acts of favor, kindness and tenderness towards us.

God’s mercy is not simply a feeling towards us – His full rescuing power is at the core of His mercy. Here are all the hurting ones in Psalm 103 who benefit from His mercy:

V3 –      those with iniquities
V3 –      those with diseases
V4 –      those who are on a path towards destruction
V5 –      those who are old and weak
V6 –      those who are oppressed
V 10 –   those who are sinners
V 13 –   those who are fatherless (see also: Hosea 14:3)

3) The MEASURE of His mercies: Plenteous/Abounding. Verse 8, The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

4) The EXTENT of His Mercies: Great – as high as the heavens are above the earth Verse 11, For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him

5) The DURATION of His Mercies: everlasting Verse 17, But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him and His righteousness to children's children.

6) The RECIPIENTS of His Mercies: …those who fear Him Verse 11, …His mercy toward those that fear Him.

7) The RESULT of His mercies of His Mercies: We wear mercy as a crown verse 4 …who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies

Without His wonderful tender mercy where would we be? Knowing who I am to the core, and my many weaknesses as He does; His compelling, drawing covenant love continues to shower me with mercy – even when I fail. What extraordinary love.

...hope in the Lord; 
For with the Lord there is mercy,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
Psalm 130:7

The Lord takes pleasure in those...who hope in His mercy.
Psalm 147:11