THE MERCIES OF GOD – PART 3
TEXT: ROM. 9:15 - For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."
Brethren, one of the surest ways to enter into the unending mercies of God is by keeping His covenant. Our God is a covenant keeping God and as such would honour anyone who keeps His covenant. While the unfailing mercies of God is not in doubt, there are times when God can withdraw His mercies from whoever fails to heed His commands. You can make it easy for God to maintain His mercies for you and your generations by fulfilling His conditions.
Even though our text states that the Lord would have mercy on whom He would have mercy, the bible also states in many instances that God would keep His mercies and covenants with only those who are ready to walk with Him with all their heart. According to I Kgs. 8: 23 the bible says “And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart.”(KJV). What does it mean to walk with God with one’s heart? On one occasion, an expert in law came to test our Lord Jesus Christ in Lk. 10: 25 – 37 about what he has to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus Christ asked him what was written in the law. He answered our Lord Jesus Christ by quoting Deut. 6: 5 and Lev.19:18. According to Lk. 10: 27 “He answered: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbour as yourself.'". Jesus Christ answered him in Lk.10:28 that “You have answered correctly,” ... “Do this and you will live” (NIV).
Dear reader, do you want to live? I am sure that you know there is a difference between living and mere existence. If you desire to live, then I would encourage you to love the Lord with your whole heart. Why is it important to love the Lord with our whole heart? Or why is God interested with our heart? God is interested in our heart because it is from the heart that sins begin. Both hatred/wickedness and love begins from the heart. The bible says in Prov. 23: 7 that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. In Prov. 26: 24 the bible says again “A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit (NIV). Brethren, what is in your heart? The bible warns us in Pro. 4:23 that “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (NIV). A bible commentary explains that the heart is crucial in the battle between wisdom and foolishness, between righteousness and evil. So, by implications, the heart is crucial in the receipt of either the mercy of God or the judgement and punishment from God. Brethren, what would you choose today? The mercy of God or the judgement of God?
Again, if you desire that God should keep His covenant and mercy with you then you must do His will by ensuring that you love him with all your heart. When the Pharisees and the teachers of law came to ask Jesus in Matt. 15: 1- 10 about why His disciples were breaking the traditions by not washing their hands, Jesus answered them in Matt. 15: 8 – 9 by quoting Isa. 29: 13 “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men”. Brethren, God does not see as men sees. Why human knowledge is limited to sight, God sees beyond the physical.
Also, another way by which you can enter into a permanent and enduring mercy of God is by fearing Him in your words and actions. Luke 1:50 says “And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation (NIV).” How do you fear God? Deut. 10: 12, 20 – 21 gives a very good summary on what the fear of Gods entails. It reads:
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 20 Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes” (NIV).
As has been explained, the fear of God is not seeing God as a terror whose intention is to harm or destroy or that of a bully that would strike without a cause but “rather, God wanted His people to recognise their finiteness and unworthiness in His divine presence”. The fear of God is a reverential fear in which we recognise His awesomeness and majesty. So, when you see God in this way, you would be positioning yourself for His mercies. A relevant case in the bible is that of the Centurion recorded in Lk. 7: 1 – 10. We were told in verse 6 – 7 “So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed” (NIV). This is the kind of reverential fear that the Lord requires of us. Of course, the Centurion received the Lord’s mercy and his servant was made whole.
Do you want to receive the Lord’s mercy? Do you want to be made whole spiritually, physically and financially? If your answer is yes, then you must love the lord with all your heart, guard your heart and fear the Lord your God. May the Lord be merciful unto you this season in Jesus name.
Dr. Yinka Okude
RCCG Jesus Sanctuary, Northampton