|Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me.................|
We talk about grace and mercy a lot in the Christian community. It is what Joyce Meyer often refers to as our 'Christian-eze', that language we speak that makes us feel superior, very anointed, yet is so often not understood by those who need Jesus the most. With that in mind, I would like us to think about mercy and just exactly what mercy is.
You will note that grace is a synonym of mercy as thus defined in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. As we consider these definitions, what can we glean about God as He offers us mercy?
Compassion or forgiveness offered to someone over whom one has the power to inflict punishment or harm. That certainly defines our relationship in regards to God. He is our creator and has the power and right to punish us or harm us at His will. Yet, from the beginning, He has gone beyond what would humanly be considered reasonable to offer us compassion and forgiveness.
In the garden, with a perfect paradise surrounding them, Adam and Eve chose sin over obedience. In spite of that blatant act of disobedience, God offered a way of repentance and redemption, a way of restoration for Adam and Eve in their relationship with God. The God who gave them life, who provided their every need, was willfully disobeyed yet it was this same God who reached out to Adam and Eve in restoration. What an amazing act of mercy from the very beginning!
Mankind continued their willing walk away from the God who created them, who loved them so unconditionally. Every imagination of their heart was sinful. Of all mankind, only one man could be found faithful, Noah. Because of Noah's faithfulness and obedience, he and his family were chosen by God to play the role of the redeemer of mankind. Noah, his wife, three sons and three daughters-in-law were the only individuals of the human race allowed to survive the Great Flood. From their line sprang the new line of humanity that re-populated the earth.
The scarlet thread of redemption continued through the ages and the lineage of Hebrew people. Moses, who was the prince of Egypt by purpose and the redeemer of the Israelite people by plan. David who was the child king of the Hebrew people, who was a man after God's own heart, who was offered redemption after willful sins and who became the father of the lineage of Jesus Christ.
Esther who became the redeemer of her people by marrying the Babylonian king and walking in a manner that might seem contrary to God's law to us, but which was ordained by God Himself as a way to redeem and restore His people. Deborah, the judge, who walked out before the Hebrew army and proclaimed the way of the Lord for her people and led them to victory, again in what might seem contrary to God's will, but so obviously in the very center of His mercy.
All the way to a pure young virgin named Mary, who heard from the angel and submitted herself to God's perfect will and His seemingly strange plan. And Joseph, a young man who loved Mary and had been promised her as his bride. Who accepted God's strange plan and submitted to God's will, who loved our Savior as his own son while all along knowing he was the Son of the Most High God.
Then there is Jesus Christ, the living Son of the Most High God; Immanuel, Counselor, Redeemer, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. A man who was at once God and man; who knew no sin, but knew every temptation mankind can face. A man or sorrows and acquainted with grief, yet who walked the streets of heaven both before and after his time here. Who now awaits the opportunity to welcome His bride home. Who bore my sin in His body; who knew death and the grave so that I might never have to experience the sting of death.
Above and beyond the mercy of salvation, are the manifold ways God bestows mercy on me every day of my life. Blessings of peace and contentment in even the most trying of times; a loving family who watches over me; faithful and true friends who pray for me and encourage me; financial supply for my daily needs and many of my desires; His Word to guide me as I go and give me encouragement and hope....the list goes on and on.
MERCY....unwarranted favor from someone who has the power to punish and/or cause pain yet who chooses to give forgiveness and restoration; who gives blessings to numerous to count... THAT is JESUS to ME!
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”
to those who search for him.