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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

   Morning Thoughts by Elder Philip Conley

Micah 6:8, "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to
do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"

Deuteronomy 10:12, "And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul."

This morning, we will attempt to investigate again some parallel passages to view rich beauty defined.
As it has often been stated, "The Bible is its own best commentary." So, to find many definitions of things in the Bible, let us seek their definition (if we can) within the same source material. Writings of men, dictionaries, and commentaries are good tools to utilize, but if the Holy Scriptures give us working definitions, let us hold those fast no matter the leanings of men in their works. Should one desire to define the term "gospel," a quick reference between Isaiah 61 and Luke 4 will uncover that the definition of the gospel is "good tidings." Many times, the Biblical definitions of words (from other Bible passages) will not only lend the meaning of the word, but they will also provide great beauty as well. So, let us seek to discover these things from the verses above.

While we could extend our thoughts into each and every phrase from both verses, we will seek to regulate our thoughts to one phrase from each verse.  In the text from Micah, the second phrased commandment is "to love mercy." If we compare the phrases in Deuteronomy, we discover that the parallel phrase from that verse says "to love him." So, we easily discover that we can define "mercy" with "God." We are told in other places what God is (in His attributes), but here we discover that one of them is mercy. Granted, we see different kinds of "mercy" out in the world in different circumstances and with different motivations. But, in the exhortations of the above verses, we find mercy synonymous with God. Now, the definition is easy to discover by laying these verses together, but what beauty can we learn from this? By equating God with mercy, what becomes our task in fulfilling the command?

Right now in my chronological reading, I am travelling through the book of Jeremiah. One of the themes that occurs over and over in that book is that the Lord (through Jeremiah) tells the land of Judah about the impending Babylonian captivity. Yet, in all the prophecies about this event, the Lord shows mercy upon mercy. He tells them at one point that the captivity can be withheld should they refrain from their abominations. At other places, He tells themthat their lives can be spared should they surrender themselves to Babylon. Still, at other times, they were told that the city of Jerusalem would be spared from ruin should they surrender to Nebuchadnezzar.

Yet, time after time, the wickedness of the rulers prevailed to prevent the mercy offered. Jehoiakim
burned the roll containing the precepts of the Lord.   The princes prevailed against king Zedekiah to put Jeremiah into the dungeon for "weakening the hands of the people."

One might ask, "Where is the mercy shown by the Lord?" Firstly, the Lord was not required to offer conditions of mercy to either spare the captivity or  he full tragedy of the captivity and fall of Judah.  Secondly, He was not required to extend more mercy when the first was scoffed at. Today, natural man
despises great mercy as he thinks it a sign of weakness. The Lord does not show lack of power on these occasions (or lack of purpose), but rather, He is showing the extension of mercy unto His people when they merited none of it. We understand from passages like this that the Lord is both slow to anger and plenteous in mercy. He would have been just and holy to annihilate Adam in the garden at the moment of transgression. He would have been perfectly within His Divine Right to have Jerusalem leveled at the first indication of idolatry and abomination in the land. Yet, He continues to show mercy unto us (His people) even unto this present hour when we merited none of it.

Looking further at mercy, Paul asserts in Romans 9 that God will have mercy and compassion on whom He  ill. It is interesting to note that the mercy of God being extended to "who He will" is due to Divine Authority. The Lord does not choose this haphazardly, as each object of mercy is known and loved of Him.  But, also note that it does not say that He will have wrath on whom He will have wrath. God does not choose to pour forth wrath in the same vein as He shows mercy. Those that find His wrath are deserving of it, but those that find His mercy were not deserving of it. It is true that we are made worthy by the blood of the Lamb, but we deserved not the mercy shown unto us. The wrath is most fitting and deserving unto those that receive it. But, again, God is not lacking in power or purpose (or fairness for that matter).  Rather, He shows forth that His mercy unto us is freely by His grace and purpose.

Now, to find the beauty in this exhortation, we must look at the structure of the command. We are to love
mercy. What exactly does it mean to love mercy?  Natural man (as mentioned above) despises mercy, but
we are to love it. By loving mercy, we are loving God. Therefore, when we see mercy manifest, that is  something to be loved by us (not condemned). When we see mercy in God's dealings, we are to love that
picture without charging God with the age-old adage, "That's not fair!" We are to love the doctrine of
free grace, and manifest our love for that teaching by showing it forth to our brethren. We are to love the
fact that mercy was stamped to our account and the justice removed by the merits of our Saviour. While
we are made worthy by His blood, let us remember that Mercy was the extension to us that bore our justice
from us. These are thoughts to love and prize.

So, when we traverse the scenes of our lives, let us seek to show mercy. God chose to show mercy on those
in a pitiful state. Let us seek to do likewise. God chose to show mercy to those that had transgressed His
precepts many times over. Let us seek to do likewise. There does come a point when mercy is withheld due to God's longsuffering being ended (in a particular circumstance). In the Jeremiah account, the perspective of that prophet segues from the end of the kingdom of Judah to a book known as Lamentations.  Indeed, it is a lamentable time to see God's mercies withheld from us for steeped disobedience. Yet, the mercies are not gone (but withheld), for Jeremiah tells us that they (His mercies) are new every morning. So, in seeking to love mercy (God) and show it forth, there may come times when the mercy is to be withheld, as He has given us patterns in His word.

Such a time is that of church discipline. We do not enjoy these seasons, but He has given us indicators of
when mercy is withheld. But, let us also remember that Divine mercy in eternity is continued upon us, and repentance from dead works and renewed faith toward God extends mercy unto us here in this life.  So, let us extend mercy when repentance is shown and never forget that our enemies for the sake of truth and the gospel are still beloved objects of mercy for the sake of election.

In Hope,

Bro Philip