MERCY: forbearance from inflicting harm, especially in the way of punishment, under provocation, when one has the power to inflict it.
PUNISHMENT: to inflict with pain, loss or suffering for a crime or fault.
PROVOCATION: an act which incites to anger or incense.
God is merciful and so are all of His children. In the perfectness and graciousness of God’s love He shows great mercy; and by this same love, the children of God are also merciful. If mercy is absent in the heart of a man, then the righteous love of God is imperfect in that man; and, that man has a fault which is unacceptable to God.
Matthew 5:7Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Mercy is a essential element of forgiveness. Except there be mercy in the attitude and intention of the offended toward the offender, forgiveness does not exist. Forgiveness is effective when mercy is active. Mercy is an unmerited favor; a forbearance when punishment was due. Mercy is an active part of patience, longsuffering and kindness. It is necessary for true fellowship and unity. Since God has been so merciful to each of us, should not we also be merciful to others.
Psalms 89:14Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.
Where God is pleased to dwell and make His habitation and throne, there will be justice, judgment, mercy and truth. It was upon the “Mercy Seat” that God told Moses that He would come and communicate with the High Priest in the Holiest of Holies. Likewise, our hearts must be the “mercy seat” upon which the Holy Spirit will come and dwell within our hearts.
Isaiah 16:5And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.
Exodus 25:8-228 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
9 According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.
10 And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.
11 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about.
12 And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it.
13 And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.
14 And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them.
15 The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it.
16 And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.
17 And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.
18 And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.
19 And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof.
20 And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.
21 And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.
22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
The beautiful symbolism employed in the Holy Scriptures will present a graphic picture in our mind so that we can understand the will of God and the acts of our God. The mercy seat is so named because God has shown great mercy to all mankind and it is from this position which He has continually communicated and interacted with men and women. God forbears the punishment we deserve for our sins and instead offers us grace to keep His commandments. Grace is the divine power of God and its influence upon the heart of men and its reflection outwardly in men’s conduct.
Psalms 85:8-138 I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.
10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12 Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.
13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.
Oh that mercy and truth would meet more oftener in the affairs of men and women in our homes and congregations. Where was mercy and truth when the husband and wife turned upon each other as adversaries instead of helpmates? Where was mercy and truth when condemnation broke the relationship which love had built? Upon what authority did your controversy justify your condemnation and cause division? Who made you the judge of another man’s servant?
Matthew 23:23Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
In this verse, Jesus taught the necessity of two things:
· Tithing, Christian giving
· Keeping judgment, mercy and faith
Neither of these two duties should be omitted. It is insufficient and unacceptable to keep one and not the other. I am convinced many in our congregations and in the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ do not properly understand the proper meaning and place for judgment. Keeping judgment does not mean that we judge the souls of others; but rather, that we teach and make ourselves examples of obedience to the judgments of God. Is there mercy and truth and righteousness in the judgments you present to others?
Ephesians 2:19-2219 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Are you an acceptable habitation of God? Is your heart a holy temple with a “mercy seat” where the Holy Spirit communes with you to show you the way you ought to go?
Psalms 97:2Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.
All of God’s ways are righteous. He is never unrighteous in anything. And, in His judgment there is mercy.
Psalms 136:1-31 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
2 O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.
3 O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Continuing through all 26 verses of this chapter, in each one we find the encouraging reminder that “his mercy endureth for ever.” God’s character never changes. Though He may choose to punish the wicked and the unbeliever, He continues to be a merciful God. His judgment and punishments do not change His character, because He is just and righteous and merciful.
6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.
7 When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
It is the will of God that iniquity be purged from the hearts of men. He intends and desires to accomplish His will with mercy and truth. God has the power and authority to control through punishment and force. He does not choose to operate by force. He wants the love and loyalty of men by their voluntary will. If men refuse God’s love and mercy, then they will receive to themselves wrath and punishment.
Hosea 10:12Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
If you would be like Jesus Christ who has given us an example of living holy and righteous in this present world, we must sow in righteousness and reap in mercy. It is time to seek the Lord by obedience, faith and mercy. We must trust that the way of mercy will bring about a righteous harvest.
Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”