1633) The Mercy of God

 

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By Rick Warren at:  http://www.pastorrick.com

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     God’s number one characteristic in the Bible isn’t his sovereignty, omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, anger, or justice.

     It’s his mercy.

     The world often wants to portray God as someone who is completely focused upon judgment.  But God describes himself first and foremost as a God of mercy.

     When God revealed his glory to Moses, he said, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:6b NKJV).

     Mercy is the first characteristic God uses to define himself in the Bible.  It must be the most important.  God is merciful, and God wants us to be merciful.

     Quite simply, mercy is love in action.  It has two distinct parts.  Webster’s Dictionary defines mercy two ways, as “refraining from harm or punishment” and as “unexpected kindness.”  God wants us to do both.  The forgiving side is refraining from punishment.  And the compassionate side is going the extra mile to help somebody with unexpected kindness.  We need to demonstrate both.

     It’s more than just an attitude.  It’s a lifestyle.

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Psalm 103:8-18  —  The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.  He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.  As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.  The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.  But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.

Daniel 9:9  —  The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.

Isaiah 49:13  —  Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.

Matthew 18:33  —  (Jesus said),  “Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had mercy on you?”

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God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

–Luke 18:13b