Do you think God is a God of second chances? (If you are a parent of small children, you now have a Veggie Tales song swirling around in your head, sorry about that.) Well, I hate to break it to you. He isn’t. He is the God of another chance. And another. And another.
“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” ~ Psalm 103:8
“The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” ~ Psalm 145:8-9
“Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,’ ” ~ Exodus 34:5-6
God is merciful and gracious ~ giving unearned, undeserved love and mercy and forgiveness and kindness ~ slow to anger, full of compassion, good to all, longsuffering, abounding in goodness and truth. Look at all of His mercy: merciful, abounding in mercy, great in mercy, tender mercies over all His works, merciful and gracious.
MERCY. We define this as not being given something we deserve, being saved from the negative repercussions or consequences that we have earned and should reap.
MERCY. In the above verses, the Hebrew word checed is used, which means “goodness, kindness, faithfulness”. It is often translated as lovingkindness. For “merciful”, the Hebrew word rachuwm is used, meaning “compassionate” and used almost exclusively in reference to God.
Our God is abounding in lovingkindness and compassion! He desires to spare us from the consequences we face because of our sin. He gives us chance after chance after chance.
Look at the example given here of Pharaoh and the Egyptian people:
“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh, and say to him, “Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me, for at this time I will send all My plagues to your very heart, and on your servants and on your people, that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth. Now if I had stretched out My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, then you would have been cut off from the earth. But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth. As yet you exalt yourself against My people in that you will not let them go. Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, such as has not been in Egypt since its founding until now. Therefore send now and gather your livestock and all that you have in the field, for the hail shall come down on every man and every animal which is found in the field and is not brought home; and they shall die.’ ” ‘ He who feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his livestock flee to the houses. But he who did not regard the word of the LORD left his servants and his livestock in the field.” ~ Exodus 9:13-21
Therefore send now and gather your people and animals from the fields. God gave Pharaoh advance warning, so that none of the animals or people would die from the coming hail. And “He who feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his livestock flee to the houses. But he who did not regard the word of the LORD left his servants and his livestock in the field.”
Our pastor has been teaching through the book of Exodus on Friday nights, and I was struck by this passage and by what he had to say on it. We get needlessly pounded when we don’t heed, believe, and act on God’s word. Needlessly pounded.
God had promised to send the hail should Pharaoh continue to refuse God’s command: “Let My people go”. Those who heeded, believed, and acted on God’s word were safe and lived through the plague. Those who did not heed, believe, and act on God’s word were needlessly pounded by the hail and died.
Are you being needlessly pounded? Have you refused to heed, believe, and act on God’s word? God has given you another chance! Why not embrace His abounding mercy, compassion, and lovingkindness? Accept His free gift of grace ~ unearned, undeserved love and mercy and kindness and forgiveness ~ through faith in Jesus, and live!
What about you, Christian? Have you wandered away and stopped heeding, believing, and acting on God’s word? Flee back to God, out of the needless pounding from the world, and find safety in His arms. His lovingkindess, compassion, and mercy await!