Friday, March 23, 2007

The Forceful Mercy of God

Have you every heard someone say that God is a "gentleman," and will never force you to do anything? It is usually an attempt to affirm the sovereignty of man's free will. You will be hard pressed to find this kind of language in the Bible.
I am thankful for the forceful mercy of God. I am thankful that God sovereignly restrains and keeps me from a thousand sins every day. Given my depravity, if God did not restrain me through His mercy, I would always chose against Him.

Listen to the language of Genesis 19-20:

In Genesis 19, God is going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. However, before He "rains" sulfur and fire from heaven, He saves Lot and his family. Lot is not the most willing rescuee. Can you imagine? God says, "I am about to destroy this city and everyone in it." Lot wants to ponder what he should do for a while. In fact, 19:16 says that Lot "lingered" after being told of the immediate destruction of the city. So, what should God do at this moment? Should He withhold judgment until Lot decides to leave the city? Should He just punish Lot along with the other wicked folks? No, God's forceful mercy is put on full display! Here is what the text says, "So the men (19:1 says they were angels) seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city." Did you catch that? The mercy of the Lord forced Lot and his whole family out of the city.

In Genesis 20, Abraham claims that Sarah is his sister again. Abimelech likes Sarah and is going to take her as his wife. God communicates to Abimelech that he is a dead man because of Sarah. Abimelech pleads his case, that he did not know she was Abraham's wife. God says, "Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her." Forceful Mercy!


BoldLion said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. I haven't thought about that. I am learning a lot more now. Thank you for teaching and preaching His Word for us at CBCW.

Eating His Word,

The Taras Family said...

Proverbs 21:1 "The Kings heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wishes."

Daniel 4:25 (King Nebuchadnzzar) "They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat the grass like the oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven and seven times shall pass over you, till you KNOW THAT THE LORD MOST HIGH RULES IN THE KINGDOM OF MEN AND GIVES IT TO WHOMEVER HE CHOOSES."

Prov. 16:9 "A mans heart plans his way but the Lord directs his steps."

Prov.19:21 "There are many plans in a man's heart, nevertheless the Lord's councel, that will stand.

*I love the fact that the Lord plans all of our steps! Everything happens in accordance to His perfect will that He decreed before the foundation of the earth! I was encouraged by a good friend to start a journal, and as I read in my quiet time for the day, pick out what the verses are saying about the character of God. Then when I am finished wiht my QT, to cross ref. those verses about God and write them down and meditate on those and pray them back and praise the Lord for those attributes. It has been really helpful and I am learning so much about the Lord. Plus I always felt like I just praised Him for the same things every day...and this way I am just praising Him for what He shows me about Himself in His word for that day. I focused on His sovereignty for 2 days this week. It was really wonderful. But the word "forceful" didn't come to mind. Thats a great word. Thanks Justin!

Dutch said...

Yes, truly a great word!

Thanks for the insight!

Clif Cummings said...

These are deep thoughts from a dear friend that I must ponder and let God penetrate my heart with.

Thank you Justin for your bold blog thoughts!