Ex 33:19  I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 

God is known to be a God of mercy and grace.  Simply, we are all sinners and do not meet the standards of righteousness that God intends us to have. But, through His mercy and grace He provided a way for our sins to be forgiven through our acceptance of Christ Jesus—even though we don’t deserve it. Coupled with grace (being given God’s free gift of forgiveness though we’ve done nothing to deserve it), mercy is shown because He loves us and only asks that we accept His Son by faith.

We see that in mercy he led his people forth out of Egypt to their habitation (Ex. 15:13).  Perhaps one of the most repeated themes of praise in the Bible are the words, “His mercy endures forever.”  In Psalm 136 alone, this refrain is repeated 26 times.

The greatest act of mercy that God has ever demonstrated was to send his Son to die for our sins. In Titus 3:5 we read that “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy….”  Mercy was such an important thing to the early Christians that they often included it in their greetings.  We see this in 1 Timothy 1:2 and in a lot of other places: “To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Who are those that God has mercy upon or not?

1 – Those Who Ask:

Luk 23:43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

2 – Those Who Pass His Mercy On:

Because God is a merciful God, he expects his children to be merciful. Mercy is so important with God.   God’s people of old were taught to show mercy in many everyday actions.   The people of Israel were warned about oppressing the poor and were commanded instead to show mercy to them. There is a beautiful promise attached that we see in the Psalms: “Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the LORD delivers him in times of trouble (Ps 41:1).  We learn that what we give in showing mercy, we also receive.

Matt 18: 23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.  26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, cancelled the debt and let him go.  28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.  He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.  29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’  30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.  32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.   35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

3 – Those Who Don’t Exploit Or Take Advantage Of God’s Mercy:

The story of Samson: Judg 16:17 So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.”   18 When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. 19 After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him.  And his strength left him.  20 Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!”   He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.

One of the primary words for mercy in the Hebrew scriptures is Chesed.  It has the meaning of kindness, graciousness or mercy.  All through the Hebrew scriptures this word is used to represent the steadfast, unfailing, covenant love of God toward Israel.  The interesting thing about this covenant love is that it is not just something that God gave to Israel in the past, but something that he is giving in the present.  It is a part of his eternal nature and even a part of his name.  Because of this he cannot fail to show mercy.

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