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Summary: Message 8 from our Jonah series. This message explores the concept of mercy. God asks Jonah a pointed question concerning His right to show mercy.

Chico Alliance Church

Pastor David Welch

Jonah Series #8

“Lord Have Mercy!”

Review

Two themes intertwine through the little journal of the prophet Jonah.

The actions of a merciful sovereign God.

The actions of a miserable broken man.

I. God called Jonah – Jonah ran FROM God

II. God disciplined Jonah

III. God delivered Jonah - Jonah ran TO God in prayer

IV. God recommissioned Jonah and Spared Nineveh – Jonah ran WITH God

V. God rebuked Jonah – Jonah ran AGAINST God

The book highlights a specific aspect of God’s character; mainly His sovereign mercy. The need for God’s mercy comes from the reality of man’s malignancy. If mankind were perfect, there would be no need for mercy.

Because of its prevalence in the book and the magnificence of this aspect of God’s character I felt it appropriate to spend a whole message investigating mercy. When Moses requested to see God’s glory, God told him He would hide him in the protection of a rock and would allow Moses to view the back side of His goodness as it passed over.

Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations." Exodus 34:6-7

God included many of the aspects of God’s character we normally associate with His goodness. Compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, faithful, forgiving. We will not fully appreciate God’s mercy until we understand our need. Paul clearly explains the need.

As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. Romans 3:10-19

ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… Romans 3:23

You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:1-3

Many people cry for justice. Justice for unjust people means judgment and punishment. What we need is mercy.

All those without God’s transforming work are and will be subject to God’s wrath. The Old Testament employs some 20 different terms to express God’s anger or wrath occurring some 580 times. The New Testament documents nearly 600 references to God’s anger and wrath. Translators utilize words like wrath, anger, fury, burning indignation, hot displeasure, hate. God’s responds to the evil practiced and perpetuated by His seen and unseen creatures with a measured calculated response.

The LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. Deuteronomy 4:24

We marveled at the demonstration of God’s mercy on the wicked Ninevites.

A century later Nahum painted a different picture.

A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; the LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies. The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, and clouds are the dust beneath His feet. He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; He dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel wither; the blossoms of Lebanon wither. Mountains quake because of Him, and the hills dissolve; indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence, the world and all the inhabitants in it. Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken up by Him. The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him. But with an overflowing flood He will make a complete end of its site, and will pursue His enemies into darkness. Nahum 1:2-8

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