We deserve justice but not mercy. This should help some of us who are so self-righteous in our judgment of others. All people need mercy.
A mother once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offence twice, and justice demanded death. “But I don’t ask for justice,” the mother explained. “I plead for mercy.” “But your son does not deserve mercy,” Napoleon replied. “Sir,” the woman cried, “it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for.” “Well, then,” the emperor said, “I will have mercy.” And he spared the woman’s son.
At times in our lives, we come to the place when we feel as if we deserve mercy. We need mercy, but we do not deserve mercy. God has a way of showing us our helplessness and our sinfulness. What we really deserve, because of our sin, is the wrath of God.
In these perilous times, people need mercy. The Bible says in John 3:36, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
The Bible says, “The wrath of God abideth on him.” This means that everyone who does not know Jesus Christ has the wrath of God already abiding on them. We have in our minds that someday people are going to have the wrath of God on them. Not someday, but this day, all people without the Lord Jesus have the wrath of God abiding on them.
Salvation is not educating one’s self into heaven. Salvation is an act of God’s grace and mercy. It is instantaneous. A man is saved the moment he trusts Jesus Christ for forgiveness of his sin. It is a work of God. It is a miraculous work. We are under the wrath of God, and we need mercy. When we pray for salvation, we say, “Lord, forgive my sin. I don’t want to die and go to Hell. Lord Jesus, hear my prayer. Be merciful to me.” By His mercy, He forgives our sin and saves us.
The lost world, because of the darkness of which they live, may occasionally look at some of us and say, “You think you are better than we are.” This is not what we think. We live the Christian life because God has saved us, and we do not want to go back to the things of the past because of His mercy toward us. Because people need mercy, God says, “Mercy…unto you.”
The Word of God says, “Mercy…unto you,” but we must pray for mercy.
Habakkuk was an Old Testament prophet living in the southern kingdom of Judah. The northern kingdom had already gone into Assyrian captivity, and the southern kingdom of Judah was on the threshold of being taking captive. They were about to be overtaken by Babylon, led by Nebuchadnezzar the Great. Judah would fall to Babylon and be carried away into captivity.
Habakkuk was called by God to serve on the eve of the captivity of the nation of Judah. He already knew there was a serious problem in Judah. He approached God saying, “There is sin in the land, and, Lord I don’t know why something is not done about it.” Then God said to him, “I’m going to do something about it. I am going to send the Babylonians down to judge Judah and to destroy the land and carry the people away into captivity.” Habakkuk said, “Lord, that is too heavy a judgment.” God said to Habakkuk, “It is going to happen.”
In other words, the inevitable judgment of God is going to come. This has helped me as much as anything else I have ever found in the Word of God. There is something here that cannot be changed. There are things that have happened in people’s lives that cannot be undone. No matter how sympathetic you get over it, certain things cannot be undone. Yet, we have victory through faith.
We have forgiveness because of the mercy of God. When there is repentance of sin, there can be forgiveness and restoration, but there are things that happen to people that cannot be changed.
Our nation is on a collision course. I heard a preacher say, “If God doesn’t judge America, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” The truth of the matter is that God is not going to apologize to anyone because He always does right.
We in Canada are a nation blessed beyond other nations on the earth. I love my country and thank God I am a Canadian, but we may wake up in the morning and hear something catastrophic has happened in our own nation. We may hear of a national collapse in the next few weeks or months. What we need to pray for in the midst of wrath is mercy.
Habakkuk said in chapter three, “All right, Lord. You are going to judge our nation. I cannot hold back the judgment, but here is what I am praying.” The Bible says in Habakkuk 3:1-2, “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth. O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”
He prayed for mercy. We need to seek God every day for mercy. Each one of us should pray, “God, be merciful to our nation. God, be merciful to my family. God, be merciful to our church. God, be merciful to me.” Our prayer for the mercy of God is evidence of the right attitude toward the holiness of the Lord and the sinfulness of man.
In these perilous times, we must recognize our need of mercy and pray that God would extend His mercy to us as individuals and as a nation.
“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not”
2 Corinthians 4:1