Summary: A look at the mercy of God and what it means to us
GodIsMerciful 12/11/05 am, Rev. Jeff Simms
God’s Attributes: God Is Merciful
Primary Purpose: Looking at how God is merciful to us and how we should respond in praise and gratitude for that.
We want to look at today what it means that God is merciful. We will take a look at a psalm that David wrote about the Lord. In some ways it is a call to remember and in others a call to worship. We are to remember how God has been merciful in our lives and to express gratitude to him for that.
(Read Psalm 103:1-8)
I’m struck by how the translations that I read used different words at times to describe the tender mercies of God. In verse 4 the first time the word mercy is used in the KJV it is the Hebrew word Racham which means compassion. The NASV translates it as compassion. Then, in verse 8, the word is used twice. The first time it is Rachuwm which means compassionate and then the second time it is Checed which means goodness, kindness and faithfulness. It seems from looking at the original words we see that there is a close link here between the mercy of God and the compassion of God.
There also seems to be a link between the grace of God and the mercy of God. The grace of God is said to be the unmerited favor of God. Grace is how God reaches out to us when we are not reaching out to him. He seeks to save men and women who don’t even want to acknowledge him. It seems then that the compassion and mercy of God we could say is the way in which His grace is demonstrated. It is one of the ways we would recognize that we are being treated by grace. Then, also God expects for us to treat one another with grace and mercy also just as He has treated us.
David appears to have written this psalm. He is in some way talking to himself by saying to himself “Bless the Lord, O my soul”. It is in many ways a call to worship. He wants to remind himself of the many blessings of knowing God which he calls his “benefits” verse 2. Our souls need to be stirred up also to be reminded of the benefits of knowing him. We need to be reminded sometimes of just what he has already done for us. Paul told us in Philippians 4:4 to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” We might not be able to rejoice in our problems, but we can always rejoice in the mercies and grace of God.
David then goes on to talk about how he and others have experienced the mercy of God. First, he speaks of how God has forgiven or pardoned our inquities. Inquities can be things we should have done but did not and what we have done that we should not have. The tense of the word here is important because it doesn’t say that God forgave once and it is done. But, rather it is in the present tense always. God continually washes over the believer with fresh waters of his grace and forgiveness. He doesn’t forgive once and then stop, but it is continual.
When God redeems us, he doesn’t just wash the old clean though. Scripture says that we are quickened and raised up from being dead. It is like we are born anew.