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03 September 2022
Walking in God's Mercy - Rev Funke Ewuosho

The Psalmist said: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life." (Ps. 23:6). Recently, God began to show me that one of the ingredients that would make for victorious Christian living in these end times is, His mercy; understanding and walking in it, more than ever before.
The Bible tells us very clearly that God is a merciful God; that is one of His many attributes, and we must begin to see and know Him that way. God testified about Himself: "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long suffering and abounding in goodness and truth. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin" (Ex. 34:6-9). Nehemiah said, "for you are God, gracious and merciful" (Neh. 9:31). The Psalmist said "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy." (Ps. 103:8). Jesus, in the Beatitudes told His disciples: "Therefore be merciful, just as your father also is merciful." (Luke 6:36) Jesus, in all things, had to be made like us that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God. (Heb. 2:17) God is plenteous in mercy. (Ps. 86:5,15). God"s mercy endures forever (1 Chron. 16:34,41; Ps118:1,4). God"s mercy is great. (Ps. 57:10; 86:13; 103:11). The Bible talks about the multitude of God"s mercy (Ps. 69:13; 5:7).
Mercy, both in the Old and New Testaments, is defined as: Compassion, Pity, Goodness, Kindness, Favour, and Graciousness.
Firstly, in our sinfulness - even when we were sinners, before we ever believed and got saved! "But God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." (Eph. 2:4-7). The Bible says that when we were still without strength, Christ died for the ungodly. Also, God"s love was demonstrated to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:6,8). We were reconciled to God through the death of Jesus Christ even when we were God"s enemies. (Rom. 5:10).
We have been saved only by grace, not by our own works lest we should boast. (Eph. 2:8-9). We didn"t work to be good and acceptable to God: salvation is a gift from God. "God saved you by His special favour when you believed. And you can"t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it." (N.L.T) Salvation doesn"t stop at the new birth; that is only the beginning. Salvation is an all-encompassing word and an on-going experience. It also includes deliverance, healing, well-being, prosperity, safety, etc. The same way, we were not saved from eternal doom by our own works; we won"t be saved from sicknesses, diseases, oppression, poverty, etc. by our own works! This truth set me free years ago; I stopped trying to get healed by my good works. I started to see healing also as a gift from God, through the finished work of Calvary. That to me, answered the question: "What of so and so sister or brother, who served God so faithfully and yet didn"t get healed?" God showed me that healing is not a reward for the good things we have done; No, it is by grace! If God showed us so much mercy when we were sinners and enemies of God, how much more will He show us great mercy now that we are His children? "Much more than having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." (Rom. 5:9-10). We need to understand how that works; you are not kinder to outsiders than you are to your own children. Charity must begin at home or else, that would be plain hypocrisy! Why would God show us so much love as sinners and then have nothing reserved for us now that He has wooed us to Himself? "But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.” Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;" (Is. 49:14-16).
God knew that even after we"ve been saved, we might still fall into sins, so He made a provision for that. "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1Jn. 2:1). God made provision, not only for the sins of the world, but also for our sins. (1Jn. 2:2). God doesn"t love you less now that you are saved. "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment." (1 Jn. 4:18).
Secondly, God shows us His mercy in our weaknesses. Though saved, we all have areas in which we are weak; areas where we tend to fail and to fall, i.e. our faults and shortcomings. "For we do not yet have a High Priest who cannot sympathise with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 4:15-16). Jesus came to help the seed of Abraham; and because He Himself was tempted in all things, (yet without sin) He is able to help those who are tempted. (Heb. 2:16-18).
Jesus told Peter that satan had asked to sift Peter as wheat but He had prayed for him that Peter"s faith should not fail. (Lk. 22:31-32). "As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; (i.e. understands our constitution) He remembers that we are dust." (Ps. 103:13-14). The Bible says that God is faithful, not only will He not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear, He will also make the way of escape for us with every temptation we face. (1 Cor. 10:13). What a merciful God we serve! He is always looking out for us, not to ‘get" us, but to help us out!
Thirdly, God shows us His mercy in our distresses, troubles and afflictions. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all." (Ps. 34:19). When three nations attacked Judah, King Jehoshophat and all Judah cried out to God in their distress. God responded to them. Jehoshophat appointed singers, who went ahead of the army saying: "Praise the LORD, for His mercy endures forever." The Bible says when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against their enemies and they were defeated. (2 Chron.. 20: 21-23) In Psalm 136, Israel attributed their victories and the destruction of their enemies to the mercy of God. Actually, when God shows His mercy to us in our distress, it not only means our deliverance but also the destruction or defeat of our adversary. "And not in any way terrified of your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God." (Php. 1:29).
Daniel and his three friends would have been destroyed with the other wise men but Daniel ran to his friends "that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon." (Dan. 2: 18). The secret was then revealed to Daniel in a night vision. The Bible says: "Through the LORD"s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." (Lam. 3: 22, 23).
Joseph was thrown into the prison because Portiphar"s wife falsely accused him of attempted rape. The Bible says, the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison (Gen. 39:21). God"s mercy also produces favour. Nehemiah asked God for mercy in the sight of the king and as a result of that he had favour with the king. The king gave him the permission to go to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and also gave him provision and protection.
Jesus ministered healing and deliverance to people as a show of mercy. Mercy is also described as God"s attitude towards those who are in distress. Blind Bartimaeus cried out to Jesus, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” (Mk. 10:4). The woman of Canaan asked Jesus for mercy on her daughter who was severely demon possessed, and the daughter was delivered.(Matt. 15:22). The father of the epileptic boy asked Jesus to have mercy on his son who was suffering severely (Matt. 17:15). Epaphoditus, Paul"s helper was sick almost unto death but Paul said "God had mercy on him and not only on him but on me also lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow." (Php. 2:27).
When Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist had her baby, the Bible says "when her neighbours and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her." (Lk. 1:58). I see a great connection between covenant and mercy; one is not instead of or in the place of the other. The Jews were God"s covenant people, yet God showed mercy to them at different times. We must understand that the basis of the covenant is God"s mercy. God"s covenant came to us as a result of His mercy. Someone described mercy as "the outward manifestation of pity; it assumes the need on the part of him who receives it and resources adequate to meet the need on the part of him who shows it". The Almighty God in His unlimited, infinite resources, entered into covenant with man out of His mercy. "What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that you visit him?" (i.e. give attention to or care for him). (Ps. 8:5) Mercy and covenant go together. "He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His seed forever." (Luke 1: 54, 55).
When the Israelites cried to God in their bondage, God remembered His covenant with their fathers and showed them mercy. Jesus healed the woman bound by the spirit of infirmity for eighteen years, because she was a daughter of Abraham (Luke 13:16) "For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall my covenant of peace be removed." Says the LORD who has mercy on you." (Isa. 54:10). Can you see the connection between the covenant and mercy? In the Old Testament, the ark of the Covenant was covered with the mercy seat. God met with the Israelites and spoke with them from above the mercy seat. (Ex. 25: 21-22). So, you can"t separate the covenant from mercy. God"s mercy works because of His covenant; and our faith only works because of God"s mercy: "Faith works by love." (Gal. 5:6).
Nehemiah repented on behalf of himself and the Israelites, and asked God to grant him mercy in the sight of the king. And God did. (Neh. 1:1-11). In 2 Peter 3:9, God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. "Confess your faults one to another and pray for one another that you may be healed." (Jas. 5:16) It however, takes humility to acknowledge one"s sins and faults and repent of them.
In the belly of the fish, Jonah cried out to the Lord and God answered Him. We shouldn"t allow our sins or faults to drive us away from God but in spite of them still go to Him for mercy and grace to help. The story of the prodigal son is a good example. (Luke 15)
Jesus told the disciples "watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak." (Matt. 26:41) The answer to the weakness of the flesh is a life of prayer. This isn"t just praying when we have sinned but praying to receive grace to help in time of need. Jesus, in the days of His flesh, offered up prayers and supplications with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death. (Heb. 5:7)
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." (Matt. 5:7) The story of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18 runs this point home. He was thrown into the prison to be tortured until he paid his debt, because he had refused to forgive his fellow servant. Jesus said we shouldn"t judge lest we be judged and with the same measure you use it will be measured back to you. (Matt. 7:2)
God bless you,