Today marks our halfway point in 90 days of reading through the bible. We will have 45 more to go. It has been a blessing, and a challenge.
My reading today took me from Psalm 136 through Psalm 150 finishing the reading of the Psalms, and by reading 15 Psalms today. There is much mention of the term “Mercy” in the Bible; and in Psalm 136 it is framed in every verse; with the phrase, “For His mercy endureth forever”. And so it does.
There are two acts of God that are confused at times; and they are mercy and grace. There is much said of both.
I know an individual who frequently uses the word “Mercy” when someone says something that might be considered shocking. Both mercy and grace are needed by humanity. We need to receive both, and we need to practice both; but only God can give them in all their fulness.
Let me give you a definition of each one, then, we will deal with the mercy of the Psalms. First, “Mercy”, the way I understand it is; not receiving what we justly deserve – which is the wrath of God. Secondly, “Grace” is receiving from God what we do not deserve – that is His love, His mercy, His presence, power, glory, His Son, His redemption. Only those who submit to Him, His Word and the work of His Son Jesus on the cross experience His grace.
God gives the human race His mercy everyday. If He were to become unmerciful He would destroy the whole of creation, and there would not be one living person left. Because of the gift of His Son we can be assured that will not happen. Jesus Christ has paid the sin debt that humanity owed to God.
In Psalm 136 all 26 verses give tribute to the mercy of God. His mercy endures forever. There is nothing like His mercy.
We find that we are to give thanks for His mercy,
“O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of gods: for His mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for His mercy endureth for ever.” Psalam 136:1-3 (KJV)
We find His mercy in the wonders that He performs; and in the Universe He has created –
“To Him who alone doeth great wonders: for His mercy endureth for ever. To Him that by wisdom made the heavens: for His mercy endureth for ever. To Him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for His mercy endureth for ever. To Him that made great lights: for His mercy endureth for ever: the sun to rule by day: for His mercy endureth for ever: the moon and stars to rule by night: for His mercy endureth for ever.” 136:4-9
In His mercy God gave Egypt the chance to “Let My people go”, but they would not; so His mercy was displayed in the deliverance of Israel from Egypt –
“To Him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for His mercy endureth for ever: and brought out Israel from among them: for His mercy endureth for ever: with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for His mercy endureth for ever. To Him which divided the Red sea into parts: for His mercy endureth for ever: and made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for His mercy endureth for ever: but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for His mercy endureth for ever.” 136:10-15
God was merciful when He was leading His people through the wilderness. There was many a time He would have destroyed them, but His mercy endured, and He delivered them, and took them to the land He had promised. Read verses 16 – 22.
The psalmist even goes on to state for all who are under His purview are provided for by Him –
“Who giveth food to all flesh: for His mercy endureth for ever.” v. 25
All of creation, God’s created order; whether they believe in Him or not; whether they are good or evil, are recipients of the mercy of God. O, wicked man; you deny God’s mercy and grace, yet you breathe His air, you walk on His dirt, you experience His gift of your beating heart; when He could at a word, stop it, and send you into a dark and Christless eternity.
“O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for His mercy endureth for ever.” v. 26
As the Psalm began,so it ends. With thanksgiving to the One who is merciful. How will you thank Him today. Begin by receiving His gift of grace given us in the person of His Son Jesus Christ, and His death on the cross, His burial, and bodily resurrection.
-Tim A. Blankenship