When the Lord passed before Moses on Mount Sinai, He declared the very essence of His character to Moses with unmistakable clarity. Listen as the Almighty speaks; “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…” (Exodus 34:6). This is who God is, what He is like, and how He defines His own nature.
Now, listen as the Lord continues in the same sentence to reveal how He expresses His character to mankind. This is holy character in action; “…keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty…” (Exodus 34:7a). This is how God behaves flowing out of who He is.
You and I would not have the ability to appreciate how merciful God is if it were not for three things; our sinfulness, God’s holy wrath, and the gracious intervention by the Holy Spirit to bring us conviction of sin, faith and salvation.
Sin, which is rebellion against God’s holiness, takes you as far away from the Lord as needed in the hope that you will forget Him. Whereas God’s holy wrath reminds you of His sinless perfections which demand justice of sinners. To which sin responds by getting the sinner to wish God out of existence as He is irrelevant to sins purposes for your life.
When Israel confessed their sin in Nehemiah chapter 9, Nehemiah made some amazing statements concerning how the Lord treated Israel. Even in times of divine discipline, Nehemiah says of God; “in your great mercies you did not make an end of them or forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God” (Nehemiah 9:31).
Nehemiah recognised life sparing mercy. By nature, God is a Saviour. He is incredibly patient with rebellious sinners who think that by ignoring the Lord, this makes Him go away – WRONG! On this occasion, Israel rightly confessed of the Lord; “you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly” (Nehemiah 9:33).
As many of us can testify, mercy steps in to draw sinners to repentant faith in the Saviour, resulting in obedience to Jesus Christ as Lord.
As mankind has no ability to break the vicious cycle of sin within, God mercifully steps in to take over the life of a sinner. This begins at the cross of Calvary, where “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
For those of us who have walked with the Lord for a while, remember the Lord’s mercy. Should you stumble in sin, remember that “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). Christ is our security, our only hope, and our only joy in the dark times of life.
I encourage you to celebrate your merciful God; speak well of your Saviour today. Introduce the mercy of God to someone today and allow them to taste the sweetness of Jesus Christ and His love. Walk them to the Cross and help them to look up at their Saviour. Introduce them to Jesus Christ who is their substitute on that cross.