SBS Sermon Notes

SBS     Sermon Notes     Note 03/01

Yahweh's Mercy

Reading: Exodus 34:1-8

English: Mercy = Refraining from inflicting punishment or pain on an offender
Hebrew: Chesed = loving kindness, chanan = graciously inclined, racham = to love and pity.
Greek: Eleeo = to be kind, beneficent

1. Our Merciful Father

When men describe themselves or their fellows they are inclined to tell of appearance, possessions, intelligence, skill, wealth, power or position. But when the Almighty describes Himself He speaks of His qualities - foremost amongst which He rates His quality of mercy.
Exodus 34:5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.
6: And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
7: Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,
and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
8: And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.

Jeremiah 3:12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever.

Isaiah 54:5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. 6: For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. 7: For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. 8: In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.
Deuteronomy 4:30 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
31: (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.

Psalm 103:8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9: He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
James 5:11 ... the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

2. Mercy for the Repentant

Even though the Most High is an extremely merciful Being, His mercy is only extended to those who repent of their sins and sincerely request His mercy. It is not indiscriminately poured upon blatant sinners who have no intention of giving up sin.
Exodus 33:19 "... And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will shew mercy to whom I will shew mercy."
Exodus 34:7 "Keeping mercy for thousands ... and that will by no means clear the guilty."
Psalm 59:5 "Thou therefore O Lord God of Hosts, the God of Israel, awake to visit all the heathen: be not merciful to any wicked transgressor. Selah!"
Jer. 3:13 Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD.

3. Mercy for the Ignorant

There are of course times when people do not repent, simply because they do not realise that they are doing wrong. Yahweh is usually merciful in these instances (Acts 17:30), though He does warn and even punish sins of ignorance in an effort to bring the sinner to his senses. In other words, mercy is available, but only to repentant believers who request forgiveness. The enlightened but unrepentant transgressor, however, will not obtain mercy from God.
Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27: But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28: He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
30: For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31: It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

4. Everlasting Mercy

There are many verses in the Bible which say that Yahweh's mercy is everlasting. Of course when sin ceases to exist, the need for repentance and mercy will vanish. But mercy itself, that tender-hearted loving-kindness and grace that springs from Yahweh's heart, will endure for all time.
Psalm 100:5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
Psalm 103:17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;
18: To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

Psalm 136 Read this psalm through and note how almost every action of the Most High in His treatment of Israel was prompted by His love and mercy. Contrast Yahweh's terrifying punishment of the heathen with His tender mercies for His repentant people. Pause and consider the mercy of the Most High. It is abundant, free and everlasting to those who request it in the right spirit. But it is withheld from to the blatant sinner who knowingly opposes Yahweh's will.
Exodus 33:19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

5. The Merciful Receive Mercy

No one is better placed to receive mercy than the merciful.

Be Merciful
2 Samuel 22:26 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright.
27: With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.

Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.
James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Luke 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
4: And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

Luke 23:34 ...Father forgive them for they know not what they do...

6. A Call to be Merciful

We live in an extremely brutal world; a world in which mental and physical cruelty are commonplace. Mercy is vanishing from the earth and people are becoming callous, pitiless and cruel. It is at a time like this that kindness and mercy are desperately needed. And what better channel could the Most High find to express His mercy to the world than the true believer himself. Consider Yahweh's appeal to His followers to be merciful.
Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Zechariah 7:9 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:
Matthew 23:23 Woe 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.

From the above we can see that showing mercy comes second to 'doing justly.' Mercy is a weightier matter than tithing. But it is not extended to unrepentant sinners unless they are totally ignorant of what they are doing. It is only when we look at Yahweh's mercy in this light that we can appreciate its worth and its place in the Judgement. Yahweh's mercy rejoices over judgement - whenever repentance is present - and every noble mind is gladdened when it does. But when repentance is contemptuously and continuously ignored, then His mercy gives way to judgement and punishment follows. These are eternal, spiritual facts we do well to keep in mind.

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Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
Placed on Internet Dec.1995 ... Updated with KJV references July 1999