Would you rather be judged based upon your “keeping of the law,” the whole law, or would you rather have mercy? I have noticed that we, even as parents, insist on obedience, but that all of our children misbehave, at times. Discipline is good, according to the Scriptures, but sin does separate us from the presence and approval of God. Good parents understand forgiveness, they get to practice it a lot.
But have you noticed how harshly man deals with the sins of man. We are very quick to find people guilty of breaking the law and to demand retribution. If God were as hard on us as we are on each other, no one would be saved. God’s love for His children exceeds any “human love” we could envision. His mercy endures forever. Do not ask God for “justice,” regarding judgment for your sins.
Let’s look closely at a picture of God’s mercy.
Psalm 103:1-22 (NKJ)
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The LORD executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known His ways to Moses, his acts to the children of Israel.
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
9 He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children,
18 To such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them.
19 The LORD has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the LORD, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word.
21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
22 Bless the LORD, all His works, in all places of His dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!
Now, let us look at God’s judgment on those who do not seek His mercy, either during life or at the end.
Psalm 10:2-15 (NKJ)
2 The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.
3 For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; he blesses the greedy and renounces the LORD.
4 The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.
5 His ways are always prospering; your judgments are far above, out of his sight; as for all his enemies, he sneers at them.
6 He has said in his heart, “I shall not be moved; I shall never be in adversity.”
7 His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue is trouble and iniquity.
8 He sits in the lurking places of the villages; in the secret places he murders the innocent; his eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless.
9 He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den; he lies in wait to catch the poor; he catches the poor when he draws him into his net.
10 So he crouches, he lies low, that the helpless may fall by his strength.
11 He has said in “God has forgotten; he hides His face; he will never see.”
12 Arise, O LORD! O God, lift up Your hand! Do not forget the humble.
13 Why do the wicked renounce God? He has said in his heart, “You will not require an account.”
14 But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, to repay it by Your hand. The helpless commits himself to You; you are the helper
of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked and the evil man; seek out his wickedness until You find none.
Then the Lord distinguishes between those who are willing and obedient and those who are as the harlot, who refuse and rebel.
Isaiah 1:18-24 (NKJ)
18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;
20 But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword”; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
21 How the faithful city has become a harlot! It was full of justice; righteousness lodged in it, but now murderers.
22 Your silver has become dross, your wine mixed with water.
23 Your princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; everyone loves bribes, and follows after rewards. They do not defend the fatherless, nor does the cause of the widow come before them.
24 Therefore the Lord says, the LORD of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, “Ah, I will rid Myself of My adversaries, and take vengeance on My enemies.
Throughout the scriptures, The righteousness and justice of God are documented. God exercises authority in total fairness. Listen to the words of Moses.
Deuteronomy 32:1-4 (NKJ)
1 “Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
2 Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, as raindrops on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass.
3 For I proclaim the name of the LORD: ascribe greatness to our God.
4 He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.
Consider what Solomon asked of God when he was anointed as King.
1 Kings 3:9-14 (NKJ)
9 “… give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
10 The speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing.
11 Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice,
12 “behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.
13 “And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days.
14 “So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”
Solomon was greatly blessed. But, his wisdom and administration of justice was not always accompanied by obedience. Notice that in verse 14, a condition was attached to God’s gift. Then the record indicates that Solomon, though a great leader, failed to walk in the ways of the Lord. Listen.
1 Kings 11:1-10 (NKJ)
1 But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites–
2 from the nations of whom the LORD had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love.
3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart.
4 For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David.
5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
6 Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David.
7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon.
8 And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
9 So the LORD became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the LORD God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice,
10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the LORD had commanded.
Even Solomon, who was greatly blessed with wisdom and powers of discernment and who, by the Hand of God gave us the first Temple and the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon, even he did not ask for justice from God. What he required was mercy.
2 Chronicles 6:17-21 (NKJ)
17 “And now, O LORD God of Israel, let Your word come true, which You have spoken to Your servant David.
18 “But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!
19 “Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O LORD my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You:
20 “that Your eyes may be open toward this temple day and night, toward the place where You said You would put Your name, that You may hear the prayer which Your servant prays toward this place.
21 “And may You hear the supplications of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and when You hear, forgive.
If God were only a God of justice, forgive me Father for referring to you from a human perspective, none of us would survive. It is His mercy that we require and it is His mercy that prevails. Job said it very well.
Job 9:15 (NKJ)
15 For though I were righteous, I could not answer Him; I would beg mercy of my Judge.
Even in the beginning, as God spoke through Moses, the mercy seat sat on top of the Testimony, the Ten Commandments. Mercy prevails over judgment by the Law. Thank God that is true.
Exodus 25:21 (NKJ)
21 “You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you.
Listen to the confession of King David and his expectation of mercy.
Psalm 25:7-15 (NKJ)
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to Your mercy remember me, for Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.
8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
9 The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way.
10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.
11 For Your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
12 Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.
13 He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth.
14 The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.
15 My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for He shall pluck my feet out of the net.
Like King David, we too have transgressed and we too have been promised God’s mercy as we beg His forgiveness and believe that He can “pluck our feet out of the net.” What restrains us from confession and cleansing? Hopefully nothing.