God is merciful. He made a way for us to be saved from our pitiful state in need of redemption.
Prophet Nehemiah has a lot to say about this when he prayed for Israel. (Bible reference is Nehemiah Chapter 9 starting from verses 6-31) There’s so much to learn about this prayer.
“May your glorious name be praised! May it be exalted above all blessing and praise!
6“You alone are the LORD. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve them all, and the angels of heaven worship you.
7“You are the LORD God, who chose Abram and brought him from Ur of the Chaldeans and renamed him Abraham. 8When he had proved himself faithful, you made a covenant with him to give him and his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites. And you have done what you promised, for you are always true to your word.
9“You saw the misery of our ancestors in Egypt, and you heard their cries from beside the Red Sea.c 10You displayed miraculous signs and wonders against Pharaoh, his officials, and all his people, for you knew how arrogantly they were treating our ancestors. You have a glorious reputation that has never been forgotten. 11You divided the sea for your people so they could walk through on dry land! And then you hurled their enemies into the depths of the sea. They sank like stones beneath the mighty waters. 12You led our ancestors by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night so that they could find their way.
13“You came down at Mount Sinai and spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and instructions that were just, and decrees and commands that were good. 14You instructed them concerning your holy Sabbath. And you commanded them, through Moses your servant, to obey all your commands, decrees, and instructions.
15“You gave them bread from heaven when they were hungry and water from the rock when they were thirsty. You commanded them to go and take possession of the land you had sworn to give them.
16“But our ancestors were proud and stubborn, and they paid no attention to your commands. 17They refused to obey and did not remember the miracles you had done for them. Instead, they became stubborn and appointed a leader to take them back to their slavery in Egypt! But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love. You did not abandon them, 18even when they made an idol shaped like a calf and said, ‘This is your god who brought you out of Egypt!’ They committed terrible blasphemies.
19“But in your great mercy you did not abandon them to die in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud still led them forward by day, and the pillar of fire showed them the way through the night. 20You sent your good Spirit to instruct them, and you did not stop giving them manna from heaven or water for their thirst. 21For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out, and their feet did not swell!
22“Then you helped our ancestors conquer kingdoms and nations, and you placed your people in every corner of the land.d They took over the land of King Sihon of Heshbon and the land of King Og of Bashan. 23You made their descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and brought them into the land you had promised to their ancestors.
24“They went in and took possession of the land. You subdued whole nations before them. Even the Canaanites, who inhabited the land, were powerless! Your people could deal with these nations and their kings as they pleased. 25Our ancestors captured fortified cities and fertile land. They took over houses full of good things, with cisterns already dug and vineyards and olive groves and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate until they were full and grew fat and enjoyed themselves in all your blessings.
26“But despite all this, they were disobedient and rebelled against you. They turned their backs on your Law, they killed your prophets who warned them to return to you, and they committed terrible blasphemies. 27So you handed them over to their enemies, who made them suffer. But in their time of trouble they cried to you, and you heard them from heaven. In your great mercy, you sent them liberators who rescued them from their enemies.
28“But as soon as they were at peace, your people again committed evil in your sight, and once more you let their enemies conquer them. Yet whenever your people turned and cried to you again for help, you listened once more from heaven. In your wonderful mercy, you rescued them many times!
29“You warned them to return to your Law, but they became proud and obstinate and disobeyed your commands. They did not follow your regulations, by which people will find life if only they obey. They stubbornly turned their backs on you and refused to listen. 30In your love, you were patient with them for many years. You sent your Spirit, who warned them through the prophets. But still they wouldn’t listen! So once again you allowed the peoples of the land to conquer them. 31But in your great mercy, you did not destroy them completely or abandon them forever. What a gracious and merciful God you are!
Another prophet who has prayed an intercession for God’s chosen people is Prophet Daniel. Chapter 9. Verses 3-19:
3So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. I also wore rough burlap and sprinkled myself with ashes.
4I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed:
“O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands. 5But we have sinned and done wrong. We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands and regulations. 6We have refused to listen to your servants the prophets, who spoke on your authority to our kings and princes and ancestors and to all the people of the land.
7“Lord, you are in the right; but as you see, our faces are covered with shame. This is true of all of us, including the people of Judah and Jerusalem and all Israel, scattered near and far, wherever you have driven us because of our disloyalty to you. 8O LORD, we and our kings, princes, and ancestors are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. 9But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. 10We have not obeyed the LORD our God, for we have not followed the instructions he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11All Israel has disobeyed your instruction and turned away, refusing to listen to your voice.
“So now the solemn curses and judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured down on us because of our sin. 12You have kept your word and done to us and our rulers exactly as you warned. Never has there been such a disaster as happened in Jerusalem. 13Every curse written against us in the Law of Moses has come true. Yet we have refused to seek mercy from the LORD our God by turning from our sins and recognizing his truth. 14Therefore, the LORD has brought upon us the disaster he prepared. The LORD our God was right to do all of these things, for we did not obey him.
15“O Lord our God, you brought lasting honor to your name by rescuing your people from Egypt in a great display of power. But we have sinned and are full of wickedness. 16In view of all your faithful mercies, Lord, please turn your furious anger away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain. All the neighboring nations mock Jerusalem and your people because of our sins and the sins of our ancestors.
17“O our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead. For your own sake, Lord, smile again on your desolate sanctuary.
18“O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy.
19“O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name.”
In every prayer we must make confession, not only of the sins we have been guilty of, but of our faith in God, and dependence upon him, our sorrow for sin, and our resolutions against it. It must be our confession, the language of our convictions.
Afflictions are sent to bring men to turn from their sins, and to understand God’s truth. Here is a believing appeal to the mercy of God. It is a comfort that God has been always ready to pardon sin. It is encouraging to recollect that mercies belong to God, as it is convincing and humbling to recollect that righteousness belongs to him. There are abundant mercies in God, not only forgiveness, but forgivenesses.
In all our prayers this must be our plea, we must make mention of his righteousness, even of his only. The humble, fervent, believing earnestness of this prayer should ever be followed by us.
His prophets and the major characters of the Bible tells us of God’s mercy, His great and gracious mercy and compassion!
- Psalm 78:38 New Living Translation
Yet he was merciful and forgave their sins and did not destroy them all. Many times he held back his anger and did not unleash his fury!
- Numbers 14:18 New Living Translation
The LORD is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected–even children in the third and fourth generations.
- Deuteronomy 4:31 New Living Translation
For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.
- Lamentations 3:22 English Standard Version
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; – This is a popular song!
- Psalm 103:10 New Living Translation
He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
The Lord God himself say who He is.
- Exodus 34:5-6 New Living Translation
Then the LORD came down in a cloud and stood there with him; and he called out his own name, Yahweh. The LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
We ought to be merciful to others – especially the poor who has no one to cry out to but to God. We ought to be merciful since our Father, our God, is merciful.
- Proverbs 21:13 New Living Translation
Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.
- James 2:13 New Living Translation
There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.
- Matthew 5:7 New Living Translation
God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
- Matthew 6:14 New Living Translation
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
It’s a call from God, an order for us to follow, in our relationship to others:
- Ephesians 4:32 New Living Translation
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
- Colossians 3:12-13 New Living Translation
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
- Mark 11:25 New Living Translation
But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
- Luke 6:37 New Living Translation
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.
- Jude 1:22-23 New Living Translation
And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.
- Zechariah 7:9 New Living Translation
“This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another.”
God’s love abides in mercy.
- 1 John 3:17 New Living Translation
If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion–how can God’s love be in that person?
What can we call ourselves when we refuse to be merciful? If our loving Father is merciful and we are not, what does that make of us?
We should rejoice about our loving God’s mercy! We should be jumping and shouting with great jubilation of His tender heart! For our many offenses, He forgave us. For our shortcomings, He looked on us with love, and compassion, and care.
Time to start thinking and reconsidering our ways. Let us renew our mind. Mercy!
by Mar Marilag 7-February-2017