“O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever.” Psalm 136:1 KJV
All twenty six verses of Psalm 136 encourage its readers to give thanks unto the Lord for His mercy endures forever. As we come to know more about the characteristics of this divine excellency, we cannot do otherwise than bless and thank God for it.
MERCY is an attribute of God, an infinite, and inexhaustible energy within the divine nature which disposes God to be actively good and compassionate. He is good to those in misery and distress; and He is also good to those who deserve punishment.
THE BESTOWING OF GOD’S MERCY. God’s mercy is eternal — it never began to be and it will never cease to be. It is infinite — it will never be more and it will definitely never be less. Nothing that has occurred or will occur in heaven or earth or hell can ever change the tender mercies of our God. Forever His mercy stands, a boundless, overwhelming immensity of divine pity and compassion.
But the exercise of God’s mercy is regulated by His pure sovereign will and grace. He said to Moses in Exodus 33:19, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” It is not the wretchedness of the creatures, nor their merits or good deeds, which cause Him to bestow mercy upon them. For God is not influenced by things outside Himself as we are. Mercy arises solely from His imperial pleasure.
THE THREEFOLD DISTINCTION OF GOD’S MERCY. In his book called “The Attributes of God”, Arthur Pink listed three distinctions of God’s mercy:
1. General Mercy. God’s mercy is extended not only to all men, believers and unbelievers alike, but also to the entire creation. He has compassion upon the brute creation in their needs, and supplies them with sustainable provisions.
2. Special Mercy. God’s mercy is exercised toward the children of men, helping and succoring them, notwithstanding their sins. To them, He also communicate all the necessities of life.
3. Sovereign Mercy. God’s sovereign mercy is reserved for the heirs of salvation. It is communicated to them in a covenant way through Jesus Christ the Mediator.
GOD’S SOVEREIGN MERCY UNTO HIS PEOPLE. It is through the tender mercy of our God that Christ was sent here to His people. The merits of Christ make it possible for God to righteously bestow spiritual mercies on His elects.
God’s spiritual mercy is great unto the heavens. Its riches transcend our loftiest thought. None can measure it. It is this mercy that makes us alive when we are dead of sins. It is this mercy that saves us. It is this abundant mercy that begat us unto eternal inheritance. Time would fail to tell us of His preserving, sustaining, pardoning, supplying mercy.
THE GOD OF MERCY IS THE GOD OF JUSTICE. God has expressly declared that He will by no means clear the guilty (Exodus 34:7). He will not be unjust to Himself. He shows mercy to the penitent, but not to the impenitent. To continue in sin and yet reckon upon divine mercy remitting punishment is diabolical. Such wicked people shall forever suffer second death in hell.
Even the casting of the reprobate into the Lake of Fire is an act of mercy. From their side, it is an act of equity, when they are made to suffer the due reward of their iniquities. From God’s side, it is an act of justice, vindicatiing His honor. But from the standpoint of the redeemed, the punishment of the wicked is an act of unspeakable mercy.
BELIEVE AND RECEIVE GOD’S MERCY. To receive mercy we must first know that God is merciful. It is not enough to believe that He once showed mercy to Noah or Abraham or David, and will again show mercy in some happy future day. We must believe that God’s mercy is boundless, free, and through Jesus Christ our Lord, available to us now in our present situation.
We may plead for mercy for a lifetime in unbelief, and at the end of our days be still no more than sadly hopeful that we shall somewhere, sometime, receive it. This is to starve to death just outside the banquet hall in which we have been warmly invited.
Or we may, if we will, lay hold on the mercy of God by faith, enter the hall, and sit down with the bold and avid souls, not allow diffidence and unbelief to keep us from the feast of sumptuous things prepared for us. ❤️
“When through the blood of the everlasting covenant we children of the shadows reach at last our home in the light, we shall have a thousand strings to our harps, but the sweetest may well be the one tuned to sound forth most perfectly the mercy of God.” — A.W. Tozer
Next Saturday: THE GRACE OF GOD 😊