by Douglas Webber
God, Who Is Merciful and Gracious
Almighty God is a Holy and Just God. He is matchless, immutable and eternal. He is the King of Kings and the Ancient of Days. There is no praise; no accolade great enough or high enough that could even come close to describing the One who is indescribable. We can never give Him enough of the praise or the glory or the honor. He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. There is none like Him. He who has created everything from the smallest microbe to the greatest universe is matchless in all He does and in who He is.
He is all this and so much more. He is not, however, a God who is impersonal, distant or cruel. God loves each and every one of us with His perfect and everlasting love.
If you have your Bibles with you, turn with me to Exodus 34:6-7.
Exodus 34: 6-7 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, 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.
In this passage of scripture, Moses has just asked to see God’s glory. That is, he desired to see God’s face. Oh that we would also have the same desire. Oh that we would not just seek the things of God, but that we would seek HIM over and above all things.
Even though Moses wanted to see God’s face, God would not allow it because no one can see Him and live. Our sinful, finite beings cannot look upon the perfect holiness of the Almighty. Nevertheless, God had a plan that would allow Moses to see his back. When He did pass before Moses, God himself declared “The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious…” In verse 7 He declares “Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin….”
This is not some theologian’s perception of God; this is Almighty Jehovah making this proclamation. Stop and think for a moment about the different attributes of God. What are some attributes of His? He is perfect. He is Holy. He is immutable. He is Omniscient. He is Omnipotent. He is sinless. We could go on and on for all eternity.
Notice what God says about Himself after proclaiming His Name. He doesn’t say, “The Lord God, All Powerful and All Knowing; nor does he say “The Lord God, the Righteous Judge”. Instead, He declares that He is merciful and gracious. Yes He is holy. Yes He is to be feared. Yes He rules and reigns on high judging from His throne.
Nonetheless, after proclaiming who He is, He declares that He is full of mercy and grace.
What does the word mercy mean? In this passage mercy in the original Hebrew is the word kheh’-sed which means kindness, goodness, favor. God does not want to visit His vengeance on us. He is not vindictive.
Oh that we would know and learn and see how much He truly loves us. He states in His Word that it is not his desire to see any of us perish in our sins, but that all of us come to that saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
We see His mercy all throughout the Bible. We see Israel rebelling, subjecting herself to God’s wrath and then repenting thus bringing about forgiveness and restoration from God. In the book of Micah God reveals what He is going to do to His people. We then see God being merciful when Micah stands in the gap and pleads with God not to carry out these terrible judgments.
Perhaps one of the most poignant examples is in the book of Hosea where God instructs Hosea to marry a woman of ill repute. It is recorded that this woman ends up being unfaithful to Hosea, but God instructs him to pay the required fee to get her back. This is symbolic of the love that God has for Israel and for us.
Even during the times in Israel’s history that are not recorded in the Bible, God showed his mercy. Does anyone know why Hanukkah is celebrated?
God ultimately showed us His mercy through His Son Jesus. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. On the third day He rose again from the dead in triumph. We can have that same victory by giving our hearts to Jesus.
Do you realize how deeply God loves you? As deep and wide and high and long the bowels of Hell may be; God’s love is deeper, God’s love is wider, God’s love is higher, and God’s love is longer.
As the old hymn states:
There is a wideness in God’s mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in his justice,
Which is more than liberty,
There is welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Savior;
There is healing in his blood.
Does God ever stop showing us His mercy? I submit to you that He does not. Even when we are in complete and total rebellion, God is there waiting for us to repent and ask His forgiveness. Like the father of the prodigal son, he waits for us and rejoices over our return. He rejoices when someone comes to Him for the first time. God loves us that much.
God is no respecter of persons. He causes it to rain on the just and the unjust. He shows His mercy to whom He will have mercy. Again, I say to you that God ultimately showed his mercy nearly 2000 years ago when He allowed his Son, Jesus, to willingly give up His life at Calvary so that we may have eternal life.
That mercy was for the sinner back then and it is for the sinner today. Praise God, that Jesus did not stay in the grave, but rose again and sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for you and for me.
Do you want to receive God’s mercy; God’s grace today? There is only one sin that God will not forgive and that is the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit. Since you are here listening to this message, you can be assured that you have not committed that sin.
While you have breath, ask God to forgive you today. You do not have any guarantee of tomorrow let alone your next breath. Your next heartbeat may be your last. Once that happens, there are no second chances. There are no prayers that can get you into Heaven once you are gone.
The time to get saved is now. The time to ask God to forgive you and ask Jesus into your heart is this very moment. Don’t let this chance pass by. You may never have another one again. Will you step out in faith and pray the prayer that will change your life for all eternity?
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