Mercy, Mercies, Blessings
The first ray of divine light in the conscience awakens a sense of need, “God be merciful to me the sinner.” God, who is rich in mercy, answers in matchless compassion, mercy’s fountain overflows, its streams gladden the heart, relieve the burdened conscience, sins are forgiven, life communicated, praise and adoration, worship and thanksgiving burst forth. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3).
This bubbling up of praise, from a “begotten” soul, running over with joy and gladness for pardon for the past, and glorious prospects for the future, anticipating an inheritance which sin shall never mar, corruption never defile, fadeless and eternal, is very beautiful in its season, very grateful to our Saviour God. The lisping of an infant is delightful to the parent, the praise of a newly-converted soul ministers to heaven’s pleasure, as it sings—
“Thy mercy, O God, is the joy of my heart.”
What a sorrowful thing when this first love wanes, this early fervour is dimmed! With Jude, Paul and Peter it continued; they tell us mercy, “abundant mercy,” started their journey, enabled them to continue, and awaited them at the end.
We are all “vessels of mercy.” Could there be any more beautiful name for a Christian than a “vessel” which God has chartered with us on a voyage to glory? Mercy means kindness, loving kindness, and always supposes need on the part of its recipients. It is love stooping to bless, to bless those who have no claim upon it; it is the display of one of the most precious attributes of our God. He is both rich and abundant in mercy; His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting. Psalm 136, tells us it was the secret of Israel’s blessing; Ephesians 2:4 reminds us that our blessings have their source in mercy.
2 Corinthians 1:3 speaks of “mercies.” Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.
Mercy provides for our sins, mercies for our sorrows. They are like the waters from the smitten rock, they follow us all our pilgrim journey. Israel celebrated the “mercy” of God on the banks of the Red Sea, they experienced the “mercies” of God every day for forty years. Their raiment waxed not old, their foot swelled not.
We do not find manna lying at our door, we do not see the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, but we have the God who provided them all. Israel experienced His providential care, and Israel’s God is ours.
If bereavement enters the home, the God of all comfort is near with everlasting consolation. If difficulties beset our path, want stares us in the face, we know not which way to turn, then our resource is in God, that God of whom Paul speaks, “who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver; in whom we trust that He will yet deliver.” Hitherto God had cared for him, Paul found Him all-sufficient, a very present help in time of trouble; “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” was his confidence for the future. Paul’s God is ours. He is the unchanging One, His mercies are inexhaustible: “My God shall supply all your need.”
Let your requests be known to God, cast all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.
God might have saved us and taken us to glory straightway, He has chosen to leave us here. What for? To learn Him in a way we could not in heaven, to learn His all-sufficiency for every difficulty, His healing balm for every wound. Let us, then, ever confide in the Father of mercies and “praise Him for all that is past and trust Him for all that’s to come.”
Ephesians 1:3 carries us into a new region; the wilderness left behind, we are seated in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus; we are to survey the heavenly expanse, to explore the lengths and breadths of the region where mercies have no place. They belong to a transition stage, needful for our wilderness journey, but here we are surrounded with “blessing.” “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.” The centre in whom all this wealth of blessing is found is Christ Jesus, the circumference is the heavenlies, that is, the region where our abiding portion is found. Here we may turn from self and sins, needs and sorrows, and bask in the eternal sunshine of our glorious inheritance, not merely from Pisgah’s height, but on the Holy Mount itself.
Here our gaze rests on Christ. He is everything and in everything, every blessing is bound up with Himself. He is the Son of the Father, He is the beloved of His bosom, He is holy and without blame before Him in love, He breathes an atmosphere of joy and peace, pleasures for evermore are His, riches in glory are His portion. Oh! for more of the grace of the Spirit to abstract ourselves from things here, and revel in our native air. We are born from above, Christ is our life, His home is ours, His nearness to the Father, His acceptance ours, His riches, for we are joint heirs.
Canaan, with its oil and honey, its fountains and brooks, its vines, figs and pomegranates, its hills of brass, with bread to the full and no lack, marked the portion of the earthly people. They were to eat, be filled and bless the Lord God. Let us challenge ourselves: how often do we travel in spirit to our heavenly home, bask in its eternal sunshine, drink of its living streams, and feed on its living bread? There is no hindrance on God’s side, for
“See the Spirit’s power
Has ope’d the heavenly door,
Has brought us to that favoured hour
When toil shall all be o’er.”
God the Father has blessed us. God the Son is the One in whom we are blessed. God the Holy Ghost is here to lead us into appropriation and enjoyment of these blessings before we are bodily in the place where they are found.
What varied notes of praise, what melody to the Lord, if we ever had “Blessed be the God and Father” on our lips and in our hearts. Whether for the “mercy” which begat us, the “mercies” which daily meet us, or the “blessings” which are eternally ours.
Is not the real hindrance often that we seek to turn our earthly mercies into blessings, forgetting that they are only provisional, and ignoring the fact that all our true possessions are outside this world—unseen, eternal.
Words of Grace and Encouragement 1909