THE FATHER OF MERCIES

Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7; Psalm 103:1-22

The word mercy is found hundreds of times in the Bible. In Psalm 136 alone we are told 26 times that God’s mercy endures forever. Writing to the Church in Corinth Paul calls God the Father of mercies [1 Corinthians 1:3].

According to the Chambers Dictionary mercy is compassion, a disposition to be kind and forgiving, pardon, and kindness to others. In Exodus we read, “The Lord passed before him [Moses] and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” [Exodus 34:6-7 ESV].

Many years ago I heard a preacher say that “Grace is God giving us what we don’t deserve; Mercy is God not giving us what we do deserve.” Let’s consider four ways in which God is merciful to us:

[1] He does not treat us as we deserve. David writes, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, or punished us according to our iniquities [Psalm 103:10]. Writing to the Ephesians, Paul speaks of our darkness and lost state [Ephesians 2:1-3], and continues, “But God, who is rich in mercy” [verse 4]. Mercy does not give what is deserved.

[2] He understands our weaknesses. David writes, The Lord knows our frame and remembers that we are dust [Psalm 103:14]. Jeremiah wrote, “It is because of God’s mercies that we are not consumed” [Lamentations 3:22]. Mercy understands weakness!

[3] He forgives our sins. David writes, “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” [Psalm 103:12]. Mercy forgives.

[4] He gives to us all His treasures. One of the most beautiful stories in the Old Testament is the way in which David showed kindness to Mephibosheth, the grandson of his enemy King Saul [2 Samuel 9:1-13]. He didn’t just restore what he had lost, but brought him into his palace to eat at the king’s table [verse 7,13]. God treats us in the same way. Mercy is generous.

Isn’t God good! I can imagine that the Psalmist could not but help but cry out incessantly, “His mercy endures for ever.” God, the Father of mercies, also requires of us that we be merciful [Micah 6:8], and Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” [Matthew 5:7].

Questions:

Consider the definitions of mercy. What is the opposite of mercy? Is there anyone that you find it had to show mercy to? If so ask God to help you change your attitude.

In what way has God shown His mercy to you? Thank Him today for His mercy.