God’s Astonishing Mercy

Posted on June 26, 2019

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By David Ettinger

Lessons from Israel
How does God feel about His children – those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior? Specifically, how does God feel about His children who sin? We can learn much from God’s dealings with Israel, His chosen people. Today, believers along with Israel are His chosen people (1 Peter 2:9), though the purpose for each is different.

In Isaiah Chapter 30, the Lord comes down hard on Israel for its shameless disobedience. He says: “For these are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction” (v. 9). God vowed punishment for their defiance, and indeed punishment came in the form of the Babylonian captivity. God also promises believers today punishment for our defiance of Him (Hebrews 12:6-7), and indeed He does punish.

Of course, this is what God must do, but is this what He desires to do? What does God desire when it comes to His children?

What God Desires
After spending 17 verses condemning the sin of Israel and vowing punishment, God exposes His heart to His chosen people, declaring exactly how He would prefer to treat them. In verse 18, He says: “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!”

If you love the Lord Jesus and have recently fallen into sin, I suggest you read this verse once, twice, or even 50 more times! Note how God lays bare His emotions as a grieving parent waiting for His beloved child to repent. Note the intensity of God’s desire to grant graciousness and compassion to those He loves. Note the fervor with which He yearns to grant mercy!

Have you ever disciplined your child and hated it? I sure did. Remember how you felt? You wanted to say, Aaron (my son’s name), don’t you know how much I long to be compassionate and merciful to you? Don’t you know how much I hate punishing you? If only you would behave properly, respect me, and do as you’re told, I would open the floodgates of mercy to you!

And if you feel this way, how much more does God feel the intensity of this longing to bestow mercy? As believers in the Lord Jesus, though we have been freed from the penalty of sin, we still have the sin nature within us and must battle it every day (Romans Chapter 7). And because we have the sin nature within us, we will fall (though the Holy Spirit has fully equipped us to overcome our temptations).

Sometimes our sin can come and go in a flash, perhaps saying the wrong thing when a car cuts us off on the highway. Other times, however, it can be far more damaging, such as unfaithfulness in marriage or other acts of immorality.

Seeking God’s Astonishing Mercy
When it comes to ancient Israel, suffice it to say they committed just about “every sin in the book.” Even so, God granted the incredible promise: “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Isaiah 30:18).

And guess what? He grants this same incredible promise to you! What sin are you trapped in? What wrong behavior are you engaging in? What past sin have you committed that you just can’t shake the guilt of?

Whatever the answer, your God possesses an astonishing mercy you cannot comprehend. Not only does He possess it, but He longs to give it to you. You only need repent of your sin and ask Him for it. As a child of God, compassion and mercy are yours. Feel free to partake of it – your Heavenly Father insists!

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