Tag Archives: mercy

the difference between me and “them”

I love the Psalms.  They express worship.  They speak of God’s attributes and character.  His holiness, His awesome majesty, His great power, His unending mercy, His lovingkindness.  They show the sinfulness of man.  The wickedness of the human heart.  The struggle to follow God.  The temptation of the world and the lure of evil.  They pretty much cover everything.  They even expose the pride and bigotry of the fleshly mindset.

It was Psalm 5.  I was reading it and loving those opening verses.  The plea for God to hear.  The worship of sacrifice.  Then the description of evil men.  They’re despicable.  Evil.  They don’t please God.  Then, the psalmist turned the attention on himself.  Well, kinda.  He really didn’t focuseon his actions or character.  Well, take a look at verses 4 – 8:

You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the LORD abhors.

But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house; in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple. Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies– make straight your way before me.

Psalm 5:4-8 NIV

Did you catch what he said (emphasis mine, of course, I’ve never heard my MDiv friends discussing the bold type in Hebrew)?  “By Your great mercy…in Your righteousness.”  The focus is all on what God has done and who He is.  He is righteous.  His mercy has granted us access to His house and the privilege to boldly approach His through.  Then, the contrast hit me.  The only difference between David and those guys in verses 4-6 is God’s mercy and God’s righteousness.  We all know that David’s actions were just as bad as those other guys at times.  But God’s great mercy made the difference.

So what about me?  I see those “other guys.”  Often, they don’t look like me.  They don’t act like me.  They certainly don’t act Christian.  Then again, I don’t always act Christian either.  What’s the real difference between me and them?  Nothing to do with me.  It’s God’s great mercy.  I have it and they need it.  So why do I so easily look on them with judgement?  That’s the battle.

Lord, help me to see all people as Your precious, treasured creation.  Help me to be ready with love, a helping hand, and the gospel message.  Thank you for Your great mercy.  Without it, I would be lost and doomed for destruction.  Your lovingkindness knows no end.  Thank you.  Amen.

Brian

 

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what a great God

This morning, Deuteronomy 4 reminded me of what an incredible, merciful God we serve.  He is holy.  And He is a consuming fire.  A jealous God.

Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lord your God that He made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the Lord your God has forbidden  For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.  Deut. 4:23 – 24

God is not willing to give up the glory He is due.  This is a serious matter.  It was serious to the Israelites and it is serious to us today.  We are not to give our allegiance – our worship – to anything, or one, other than the Lord our God.  But when we do…

The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the Lord will drive you.  But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul.  Deut. 4:27, 29

At first, this may look like an incredibly harsh passage.  Like I said, this is a serious matter to our Lord.  But look again.  What I see the incredible mercy of our God.  What I see is this: you can’t stray so far that you can’t return to God. From wherever you are, if you seek Him with all of your heart and soul, you will find Him.  Waiting.  Arms open wide.  There may be correction still.  There may be consequences to deal with.  But He’s there, like a loving Father.

For the Lord your God is a merciful God: He will not abandon or destroy you…  Deut. 4:31a

Man, God is so good.  Thank You, God, for your incredible love and mercy.  I am so undeserving.  Amen.

Brian


mercy, mercy, mercy

Lately, God has been leading me to read larger chunks of scripture several times over a number of days before I move on, rather than my usual read smaller parts and really break them down, then move on.  It has been a very different experience.  The last few days I’ve been in Isaiah 42 and 43.  What I see there is the incredible mercy of God.  Though the nation of Israel rejected God over and over, His love for them never failed.  Though He disciplined them, He loved them.  Though they ignored His Word and His warning, He loved them.  His love and mercy know no limits.  I recommend you take some time and read those chapters.  Here are some highlights:

But now, this is what the LORD says–
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 43:1-3a

Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you,
and people in exchange for your life.
Isaiah 43:4

everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
Isaiah 43:7

I, even I, am the LORD,
and apart from me there is no savior.
Isaiah 43:11

I love it when God is called Savior in the Old Testament.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s because we tend to think of it as a New Testament term.

Brian


Who is Worthy?

I was struck by one of those amazing statements in the bible recently.  One of those that just sticks with you.  I think about it several times a day.  It’s one that I’ve read many times and underlined years ago.  David said it in Psalm 5:7

“But I, by Your great mercy, will come into Your house; in reverence I will bow down toward Your holy temple.”

That phrase, “by Your great mercy” says volumes.  David knew that he had no claim to God.  No right to approach Him.  Except by the great mercy of God Himself.  Thank You God, for Your great mercy.

Brian