The grace and mercy of God
In His covenant law, God, the Creator of heaven and earth, establishes that He is the only God for the people of Israel who freed them out of Egypt in his faithfulness to his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In addition to, or instead of Him, a human being can not make another God. It is therefore obvious that severe penalties are being imposed on idolatry. At the same time He says to be merciful to those who love Him and willingly offer:
I, the LORD your God, is a jealous God who visits iniquity ... but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Exodus 20: 6; Deuteronomy 5:10)
God's mercy is inextricably linked to his mercy, covenant, or covenant love. By compassion on his people in times of need, He shows His mercy, He is actually the God who says what He has said to be. Being merciful, or rather active: proving mercy, compassion, etc., comes from his side. A human being is dependent on it and may, therefore, ask according to the covenant. Here lies the foundation of an important principle that we meet again in the New Testament. Anyone who loves God or prays to Him in sincere repentance after sinful act(s) can count on his blessing and forgiveness. Not as a reward, he is entitled to the good deed he does, but as a gift that God gives in his grace and mercy:
"... that the LORD may turn from His burning anger and show mercy to you, and have compassion on you and make you increase, just as He has sworn to your fathers, if you will listen to the voice of the LORD your God, keeping all His commandments which I am commanding you today, and doing what is right in the sight of the LORD your God.… (Deuteronomy 13: 17,18)
Even if the Lord reveals to Moses with his attributes, characteristic of his name, He begins to say that He is merciful and gracious. This is not only a confirmation of his promise made before, but at that moment of great importance for the reason that the people had broken his covenant with Him by making an idol, in the form of a golden calf, and making a feast in honor of that to celebrate. This is such a violation of the covenant of God that they are guilty of death. But because this would mean the end of the people of Israel, in a single righteous after which God could make a new beginning, this would not be righteous with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and did not match the name, the reputation that God has been given by the liberation of his people from Egypt. That's why Moses is praying for the people and God says that the sentence will not be executed immediately. Following his promise, He takes care of them, with the purpose of giving them the opportunity to repent and return to Him. This is the test whether they are worthy of grace and mercy of God. But on that occasion He makes clear to them that He, the Holy God, can not be in their midst because of their stubborn sinfulness and unholiness:
... I will not go up in your midst, because you are a stubborn people, that I may not perish you on the way ... If I should rise in your midst for a moment, I would destroy you "(Exodus 33: 3 and 5)
Moses does not plead with the Lord to leave them, but to go with them to the promised land, for the presence of the Lord is, as he sees, the distinctive difference between Israel and other nations. Not only because of his presence as such but also that they, mortals they are, do not perish with the God of heaven and earth in their midst:
"For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?"(Exodus 33:16).
The Lord promises Moses in his mercy that He will hear His prayer. As proof of this, he will see something of the glory of the Lord who will call his name to him:
"He said," I will pass over my listener to you and proclaim the name of the LORD to you, "I will be merciful to whom I am merciful and to have mercy on whom I have mercy. You will not see my face because no man will see and live me. (Exodus 33: 19,20)
By a way of life characterized by disobedience, idolatry, insolence, and violence, humanity deserves death, far from the Lord. That is already clear after Adam and Eve's sin, and now also after the sin of the people of Israel with the calf. As a judge, he must judge on the basis of facts, but if He only holds on it, no human being will be able to be saved. He will be right and righteous in his judgment, but how will his covenant with Abraham become reality? And where shall his love, his grace, and mercy be, which he also promised in his covenant law? If King David has earned punishment at one point, he denies the difference between people who do not know grace and mercy in their punishment of their fellowmen and God:
I am very afraid of my heart; let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for his mercy is great, but let me not fall into the hand of men. (2 Samuel 24:14).
In many places in the Old Testament, we find memories of the evidence of grace and mercy, which God has given in times that his people deserved not. When they suffered in their punishment because of their sins in tribulation and effort, calling to Him, God has compassion on them. We find some impressive examples of this in the tribe of Nehemiah and Daniel:
But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, longsuffering and great of mercy, and did not forsake them (Israel). Even when they had made a golden calf, they said, This is your God who brought you out of Egypt, and when you are doing great deeds, you have not left them in the desert in your great mercy. (Nehemiah 9: 18,19)
And when they had rest, they again did evil before you, and left them over to the power of their enemies, so that they ruled over them. But they called you again and you heard from heaven and saved them to your mercy many times. (Nehemiah 9:28)
But in your great mercy, you have not settled with them and left them not because you are a merciful and merciful God. (Nehemiah 9:31)
With the Lord our God, mercy, and forgiveness, though we have been rebellious against him, have not listened to the voice of the LORD our God, nor walked according to the laws which he hath given us by the service of his servants the prophets (Daniel 9: 9,10)
Curse, my God, your ear and hear; open your eyes and see our desolations and the city your name is proclaimed; For not because of our righteousness, we pour out our supplications for you, but because of your great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, notice! Acts on ... (Daniel 9:18, 19).
God commends - on the basis of his love, mercy, and mercy - voluntarily about people of good will. People who are not perfect, but confess their sins, depend on Him and do everything in their power to not sin. They are not entitled to God's grace because, despite their efforts, they are not entirely without sin and still deserve death. But God gives his grace on the basis of faith in Him. A belief that, among other things, is expressed in prayers in which they depend on Him. In addition, God's mercy applies not only to those who belong to the people of Israel but to all people who come to Him in sincerity and truth. For the Lord is the God of all men, also of us. We can also have the peace and the joy of prayer in prayer, in his mercy when we confess our sins to Him and have forgiven them:
But You, Lord, are merciful and gracious to God, longsuffering and great of mercy and faithfulness. Turn to me and be merciful to me, grant your servant your strength, deliver the son of your maidservant. (Psalm 86: 15,16)
Be merciful to me, O God, according to your mercy, pour out my transgressions to your great mercy; I was completely from my transgressions, my sin stands out for me. Against you, only I have sinned and done evil in your eyes, that you may be righteous in your judgment, pure in your sight. (Psalm 51: 3-6).
Photo by Greg Weaver on Unsplash
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