Sin is the dare of God’s justice,
the rape of His mercy,
the jeer of His patience,
the slight of His Power,
and the contempt
of His love.
Sin is the dare of God’s justice,
the rape of His mercy,
the jeer of His patience,
the slight of His Power,
and the contempt
of His love.
Signs this week:
Past-leave it to God,
There comes a time of ending.
A time of mourning the past is ended. – II Sam 11:27
Mercy given in the past – Rom 11:30
Forgiveness of sins given in the past. – Romans 3:25
There comes a time when our days are past. – Job 17:11
Eph 2:2, 3, 11
How often do we look back to refresh old hurts, defeats and disasters?
Present-Live it for God, – John 6:32-33
The work is given for today and not a future day. – John 4:35-38
Luke 11:3 – Our life is lived day by day.
Remember Zacchaeus? Luke 19:5 – Today, not tomorrow.
Luke 19:9 – Today is salvation
Luke 23:43 – Today some one is dying. Today some are going to heaven and others to hell.
What we do today can make an eternal difference in some one’s life.
Future-Entrust it to God – Matt 6:25; Matt 6:33,34
Also God is waiting for you.
What will it take for us to truly commit ourselves to the work of the Lord.
Yes the physical things need to be done.
Spiritual things of greater importance.
God bless you throughout the Year.
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy,” Proverbs 28:13.
I am a knucklehead. If you do not believe me, just ask my wife, my mom, my church or my former high school principal. I often make poor choices and I sometimes try to hide my sins and pretend they do not exist. You know, just cover them up and pretend they did not happen. This is not really the way I want to be, but there is something within my flesh that causes me to do these things.
Can you relate?
It is what we do. We try to hide our sins. Honestly, it never seems to work out. Our sins always find us out. But we still camouflage them nonetheless. It is a part of that good old human nature, that corrupted flesh. How can we ever grow through learning from our mistakes if we are not admitting our wrongs? How do we prosper?
To prosper is to flourish. The only way we can truly flourish is by doing the opposite of covering our sins. We must confess our sins. What is the result of this confession? Mercy!
Mercy is simply compassion. It is not receiving the consequences we deserve. When we confess our sins and turn from them we experience the compassionate mercy of Almighty God. Sure, there are always some consequences that come with sin, but the measure of mercy God bestows always outweighs the consequence that sinfulness deserves.
Do you want to experience the mercy of the God of the universe? Then remember the formula and put it into practice. Confessing + Forsaking = Mercy.
Are you practicing the mercy formula?
“And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people,” Psalm 9:8.
Jesus is not only the tenderhearted God of mercy, coming to town in peace, riding on a donkey; He is also the righteous Judge who will rule with a rod of iron. He will come again wielding the sword of God riding on a warhorse, stomping the grapes of wrath in the winepress of God’s judgment. Personally, as a boy I knew my stepfather loved me unconditionally, but I was scared out of my wits of his old Navy belt which he rarely had to use. That belt symbolized judgment; therefore, even though I loved him, I respected his boundaries. I was usually chicken where pain was eminent.
In Psalm 9, David compares his pagan enemies to his own reign, depending on God’s leadership. David’s life strategy was when the Lord judges the world in righteousness, David would not be depending on his own righteous behavior; his confidence would be in the righteous Judge sitting on the throne.
Regardless of how hard religious people work to turn Christianity into a tiptoe through the tulips lifestyle, one cannot close his eyes to the fact that God’s Word makes it clear. Christ will come again with all His saints bringing God’s judgment upon the ungodly (Jude 14, 15). We need to be sure we are the ones following Him in white robes, not those out front on the receiving end of His sword.
Every sin has its own consequence. Therefore, since the wages of sin is death, the Judge must pass the sentence of death. But, He offers to believers the gift of eternal life through Jesus, the righteous Judge.
IN OTHER WORDs
If the Judge be for us, who can be against us?
“The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy,” Psalm 145:8.
Living by faith is difficult on the flesh. God knows that. Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. Some think Jesus could have sinned in the flesh and had to burn out temptation in a fleshly body to earn the right to be our perfect sacrifice. However, Christ was the perfect Lamb slain before the foundation of the world and did not have to earn that right. He was tempted in all points like as we are that He might know firsthand what we go through and be the compassionate High Priest.
God cannot sin. He can make rules for man that He does not have to keep. He can tell man not to kill, and He can wipe whole races of man from the earth. Man may think that is not fair, but God is the Creator, and He does not consult with man before executing His plans. God determines what is best for man, regardless of man’s attitude about it. Yet, He is long-suffering toward man, not willing that any should perish, but that all would repent and come to Him. He is an ever-present help to give aid in times of need. He knows our limitations, and when we cross the line while depending on our own resources, He is full of grace to help us. First, we must acknowledge that we cannot handle life on our own. We were created to function plugged in to the source of our energy, both physical and spiritual energy. Regardless of how magnificent a motor might be, it can do nothing of itself without an outside source of energy. Jesus quoted this law, “Without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). Nothing is all inclusive.
Perhaps you know someone whose life is confused and mangled. Have him read 2 Corinthians 4:6-10.
The origin of ‘azā’zēl (H5799) is uncertain. Some scholars think it combines the two Hebrew words ‘ēz, “goat,” and ‘āzal (not used in the OT), “to send away,” or ‘āzēl, “to go away.” Others think it comes from the Arabic ‘azāla, “to banish” or “to remove.” Whichever is correct, ‘azā’zēl is a vivid illustration of God’s forgiveness, appearing only four times in the OT, all in Leviticus 16 (Lev_16:8; Lev_16:10 [twice], Lev_16:26). (The concept of a scapegoat [short for “escape-goat”] is still used today to refer to someone taking the blame for someone else.)
On the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the most sacred day in the Jewish community, the high priest selected two unblemished goats, one of which he killed and sprinkled its blood on the mercy seat. He took the other, laid his hands on it, confessed the sins of the nation, and then sent it into the wilderness.
Some scholars speculate, based on certain Jewish interpreters, that ‘azā’zēl is actually the proper name Azazel, which probably referred to a demon. Since one goat was “for God,” it is argued, the other was “released for Azazel.” Such a pagan concept, however, based on the mythology of the OT pseudepigraphal (“false writings”) Book of Enoch, is clearly unacceptable. Rather, the true picture of the scapegoat is that the sins of the people were carried away into the wilderness, never to be heard from again or held against them by God. “As far as the east is from the west,” David writes, “so far hath [God] removed our transgressions from us” (Psa_103:12).
As beautiful as that symbol was, however, it was still just that, a symbol. While it pictured taking away sin, it could not actually perform it. It would take something else to accomplish the miracle of taking away sin forever. What miracle? Isaiah alluded to it when he wrote, “And the LORD has laid on [Messiah] the iniquity of us all” (Isa_53:6). Then, John the Baptist declared it openly on the day he saw Jesus approaching: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (Joh_1:29). Our Lord, therefore, was not only the perfect sacrificial lamb, but He was also the perfect scapegoat. He not only redeemed His people with His blood, but He also removed their sin forever.
Scriptures for Study: Read Isa_53:4-6; Isa_53:9-12, noting what Messiah would accomplish. What does 2Co_5:21 also declare about the Lord Jesus?
sālach [and] chattā’t
Today’s first word has such deep theological significance that its forty-six occurrences speak exclusively of God’s forgiveness of man, never of men forgiving each another. As well as “to forgive,” the Hebrew sālach (H5545) means “to pardon or to spare.” Its first occurrence, in fact, demonstrates this profound importance. After Israel’s sin at Sinai, Moses interceded for the people, praying, “O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon [sālach] our iniquity and our sin” (Exo_34:9).
The deepest significance of sālach, however, lies in the very fact that almost half its occurrences are in Leviticus and Numbers, the books that most strongly emphasize the Levitical, sacrificial laws. In Lev_4:1 to Lev_5:13 (cf. Lev_6:24-30), for example, we read of the sin offering (chattā’t, H2403, a derivative of chātā’). This was a blood sacrifice—for without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness (Lev_4:20; also Heb_9:22)—and was offered in the case of unintentional sin (Lev_4:2), sin committed out of weakness (in contrast to defiant, rebellious sin, for which only judgment awaited in Num_15:30-31). Sālach appears no less than six times in this Leviticus passage (Num_4:20; Num_4:26; Num_4:31; Num_4:35; Num_5:10; Num_5:13), where it is always translated “forgiven,” and underscores God’s forgiveness of sin through His mercy and grace.
What, then, is the significance of all this to the believer today? True, once-for-all forgiveness comes through Jesus Christ. Since “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins,” it was Christ alone who “offered one sacrifice for sins for ever” (Heb_10:4; Heb_10:12). The OT sin offering specifically prefigured the reality that Christ would be “made . . . sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2Co_5:21). Further, as the sin offering was taken outside the city (Lev_4:21; cf. Heb_13:11), so would the Lord Jesus be taken outside the city (Heb_13:12; cf. Joh_19:17-20).
Further still, in the very next verse in Hebrews, the believer is challenged to “go forth therefore unto [Christ] without the camp, bearing his reproach” (Heb_13:13). In other words, we are to leave behind all false religion (which Judaism had now become) and embrace our Lord totally, even suffering for Him (Php_1:29; 2Ti_3:12; 1Pe_4:12-16).
Scriptures for Study: What city does Heb_13:14 refer to (cf. 2Co_5:1)? Then, in 2Co_5:15, what kind of sacrifice do we offer God now?
cheseḏ [and] chānan
While not interchangeable, cheseḏ (mercy) and chānan (grace) are closely related. While mercy is the withholding of what is deserved (e.g., death and hell), grace is the bestowing of what is not deserved (e.g., life and heaven). 2 Samuel 9 gives one of the most graphic pictures in all the Bible of both mercy and grace, with ten startling parallels to the Savior and sinner:
First, Mephibosheth, the son of King David’s friend Jonathan, was crippled by a fall (2Sa_4:4), just as each of us was crippled by Adam’s fall, even rendered “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph_2:1-3).
Second, as David wanted to show Mephibosheth “kindness [cheseḏ] for Jonathan’s sake” (2Sa_9:1), God has shown us mercy and grace for the sake of the Lord Jesus (Eph_4:32).
Third, that kindness was neither deserved nor earned by Mephibosheth, who could do little for himself, much less do anything for the king of Judah and Israel. We in turn deserved nothing but death, and there are not enough works in the universe to save a single soul (Eph_2:8-9; Tit_3:5).
Fourth, Mephibosheth was sought by the king (Tit_3:1; Tit_3:5), again picturing unmerited favor. Likewise, not a single person has ever “[sought] after God” by his own power (Rom_3:11). “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” Jesus declared (Joh_15:16). A dead man can do nothing, so “no man can come to [Christ], except the Father which hath sent [Him] draw him” (Joh_6:44; cf. Joh_6:65; Act_16:13-14).
Fifth, David ordered and empowered servants to fetch Mephibosheth (Act_16:5), a graphic picture of evangelism. God has likewise called and empowered each of us as witnesses (Act_1:8; Mat_28:19-20).
Sixth, a result of all this was that Mephibosheth reverenced the king (2Sa_9:6), a challenge to us to worship Jesus.
Seventh, he became a servant of the king (2Sa_9:6), as are we of Christ (e.g., Rom_6:16).
Eighth, he was given riches and security (Rom_6:7), just as we have spiritual riches (Ephesians 1) and security in Christ (Joh_10:28-29; Rom_8:29-39).
Ninth, he was made a king’s son (Rom_8:11), as we are God’s children (Joh_1:12-13). And tenth, his physical condition was hidden from view when he sat at the king’s table (Joh_1:13). We, too, have been sanctified by Christ (Heb_9:12-15) and “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph_2:6).
Scriptures for Study: If you haven’t already done so, read this wonderful account and rejoice in God’s mercy and grace.
Mercy is a translation of the Hebrew cheseḏ (H2617), which is “one of the most important [words] in the vocabulary of OT theology and ethics,” appearing some 240 times, most frequently in the Psalms. It speaks of kindness, loving-kindness, mercy, goodness, faithfulness, loyal love, and acts of kindness. While the word is used for kindness one person might show another, such as David’s kindness to Mephibosheth, the son of David’s dear friend Jonathan (2Sa_9:7), it is God’s mercy to man that stands out.
If there is a single word, in fact, that could summarize God’s dealing with His people, it would be the word mercy. One example, and by far the most notable appearance of cheseḏ, is in Psalms 136, where the psalmist declares twenty-six times of God, “His mercy endureth for ever.” This psalm is a study in worship, with God’s mercy at the forefront, displaying what wondrous works He has done. Mercy is at the foundation of His character (Psa_136:1-3), the function of His creative work (Psa_136:4-9), the fountain from which all His blessings flow to His people (Psa_136:10-25), and the force behind His Rulership in heaven (Psa_136:26).
The greatest manifestation of God’s mercy, of course, is that of redemption, His saving men from sin (Psa_51:1, “lovingkindness”, Psa_86:13). We are always struck by Jonah’s opposition to going to the unimaginably wicked Assyrians at Nineveh. Because he knew that God was a God of “kindness” (loyal love, committed to the objects of His love) and would save those pagans when they didn’t (in Jonah’s thinking) deserve it (Jon_4:2).
It is also noteworthy that with few exceptions, the Septuagint translates cheseḏ with the common Greek word eleos (G1656), which speaks of “kindness or good will towards the miserable and afflicted, joined with a desire to relieve them.” The whole point of mercy, therefore, is to relieve the affliction that man suffers because he cannot relieve it himself. Mercy is always to the helpless.
With God’s mercy as our model, we are to show mercy to others. “Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and show mercy [i.e., covenant loyalty manifested in love] and compassions every man to his brother” (Zec_7:9; Jas_2:13-17). Judgment, in fact, is reserved for those who do not show mercy and kindness (Psa_109:16).
Scriptures for Study: What does Psa_103:8 say about God and mercy? What is the prerequisite for God’s mercy in Psa_32:10?
“Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper,” Psalm 30:10.
I will never forget the overwhelming feeling of helplessness as I held our firstborn son in my arms for the first time. At first, I was not thinking about how awesome fatherhood is or how blessed I was to have a son. No, my very first thought was, I do not know what I am doing, and I have no idea how to be a dad! Since then, God has blessed us with three more children, and each day we are reminded that we are walking in uncharted territory, desperately dependent upon God to be patient with us, to protect us from ourselves and to intervene when we make mistakes.
As David sang this song at the dedication of his home, the verse that rings out the loudest is verse 10, in which David cried out, “Have mercy on me.” History tells us that David did not always make the best decisions, and his erroneous choices caused much hurt to himself and others. David was familiar with pain and understood the importance of God’s mercy.
Today, as we seek to build our homes and dedicate them to God’s honor and glory, may we never forget to daily cry out for God’s mercy. As long as we are in the flesh, we will make mistakes that cause hurt and pain to us and to others. We need a God who is patient with us and who will intervene on our behalf because of His steadfast love.
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you cry out for God’s mercy today?