Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Let me start by noting that I’m not a widely respected scholar in the Theology of the various attributes of mercy.  I don’t have memorized all of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek terms that refer to the subject of mercy, nor do I boast the ability to comprehend the full depth of its ramifications on the life of the believer. 
I simply share what I know… and I’m confident that others know more… and others know less… but all of us do well to keep the principles of God’s grace and mercy in the front of our minds.  After all, it’s by God’s mercy and grace that we’re given the opportunity to breathe, and eat, and live, and read, and study… you get the idea. 
On to the principles of mercy.
In its purest form, mercy is being free from the punishment we deserve.  It is favor when we deserve shame.  It is freedom when we deserve prison.  One of my favorite passages about mercy is Isaiah 55, and it clearly displays the gorgeous result of mercy to those who are attached to the father.

      1"Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters;
         And you who have
no money come, buy and eat
         Come, buy
wine and milk
Without money and without cost.
      2"Why do you spend money for what is
not bread,
         And your wages for what does not satisfy?
         Listen carefully to Me, and
eat what is good,
delight yourself in abundance.
Incline your ear and come to Me
         Listen, that you may
         And I will make
an everlasting covenant with you,
         According to the
faithful mercies shown to David.
      4"Behold, I have made
him a witness to the peoples,
leader and commander for the peoples.
      5"Behold, you will call a
nation you do not know,
         And a nation which knows you not will
run to you,
         Because of the LORD your God, even the Holy One of Israel;
         For He has
glorified you."
Seek the LORD while He may be found;
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way
         And the unrighteous man his
         And let him
return to the LORD,
         And He will have
compassion on him,
         And to our God,
         For He will
abundantly pardon.
      8"For My thoughts are not
your thoughts,
         Nor are
your ways My ways," declares the LORD.
as the heavens are higher than the earth,
         So are My ways higher than your ways
         And My thoughts than your thoughts.
      10"For as the
rain and the snow come down from heaven,
         And do not return there without watering the earth
         And making it bear and sprout,
         And furnishing
seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
      11So will My
word be which goes forth from My mouth;
         It will
not return to Me empty,
accomplishing what I desire,
         And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
      12"For you will go out with
         And be led forth with
mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,
         And all the
trees of the field will clap their hands.
      13"Instead of the
thorn bush the cypress will come up,
         And instead of the
nettle the myrtle will come up,
         And it will be a
memorial to the LORD,
         For an everlasting
sign which will not be cut off."
The question begs – to whom does this apply?
The answer is in the passage itself: “Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”
Mercy is an abundant, free, fantastic gift for those who are willing to lay down the things that hold them back from a deeply engaged relationship with the Lord.  Mercy is real.  It’s powerful.  And it’s for all who choose to accept it.  It’s not for those who only want the benefits of God without a commitment to God.  He clearly states that it is the result of a ‘covenant’… so, by nature, it is therefore a commitment from both sides that is required. 
What commitment have we made to God?  Have we offered flippant empty promises that are nothing more than bargains to get our own way?  Do we expect God to move Heaven and Earth on our behalf while we barely inconvenience ourselves for Him? 
To me, the greatest demonstration of mercy in this passage is – “Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.”  It’s the same as Revelation 4 where John sees a door that is standing open and hears the voice saying “Come up here.”  The invitation of our great God to engage in relationship is the absolute greatest act of mercy He could show.  We are privileged to seek Him because He will be found!  He wants to engage with us!  We who boast of our own wisdom while we quote that His ways are higher than our own… We who focus on such temporary meaningless priorities….  We who find it so easy to pursue selfish agendas…. We who understand so little….  He wants to show us things.  He wants to teach us.  He wants to reveal His great mysteries to us if we’ll just pursue…
What mercy.  Not only are we saved from an eternity of suffering – but we are extended the hand of fellowship.
What mercy.

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