Sunday, October 17

Merciful Sunday

From an unknown writer, a hymn that is a paraphrase of Psalm 57:
O God, Be Merciful to Me

O God, be merciful to me,
My soul for refuge comes to Thee,
Beneath Thy wings I safe will stay,
Until these troubles pass away.
To God Most High shall rise my prayer,
To God Who makes my wants His care,
From Heav'n He will salvation send,
And me from every foe defend.

Great foes and fierce my soul alarm,
Inflamed with rage and strong to harm,
But God, from Heav'n His dwelling place,
Will rescue me with truth and grace.
Be Thou, O God, exalted high,
Yea, far above the starry sky,
And let Thy glory be displayed
O'er all the earth Thy hands have made.

My soul is grieved because my foes
With treacherous plans my way enclose;
But from the snares that they devise
Their own undoing shall arise.
My heart is steadfast, O my King,
My heart is tuned Thy praise to sing;
Awake, my soul, and swell the song,
Let vibrant harp the notes prolong.

Yea, I will early wake and sing,
A thankful hymn to Thee will bring,
For unto Heav'n Thy mercies rise,
Thy truth is lofty as the skies.
Be Thou, O God, exalted high,
Yea, far above the starry sky,
And let Thy glory be displayed
O'er all the earth Thy hands have made.

---Listen

The featured sermon is from John McArthur, is based on the Luke 6:31-38, and called The Content of Kingdom Love. You'll want to read the whole piece for the story about Nate Saint's grandson and his relationship with the man who killed his grandfather. Here, however, is an excerpt from the section of the sermon dealing with Christ's command to be merciful (verse 36):
Further, in verse 36 Jesus added, "Be merciful just as your Father is merciful." What you're trying to do in the words of Paul is to adorn the doctrine of God. What you're trying to do is manifest your sonship, to demonstrate the life of God is in your soul, that the divine nature is there in you, that the Spirit of God dwells with you, that you are supernatural in your ability to love. And people will say, "He's a son of the Most High."

.....So, as Christ manifested that He was God's Son by His loving His enemies, so you can manifest that you too are a son of God, a child of God, not God incarnate like Christ, but nonetheless a child of God who loves the way God loves....

So when you are kind, positive good toward your enemies, and merciful, withholding judgment, you are like God, therefore you are manifestly sons of the Most High. You manifestly are giving evidence that God is your Father. So until the final day when God's judgment does fall on everybody, God Himself is kind and God Himself is merciful. That's His nature. And if you bear His nature and His name, that is how you need to be as well.

It's easy to forget that our acts of mercy are not only to be directed toward those who are innocently helpless, who are victims of circumstances they can't control; but rather, if we are to be like our Father, then we must extend those acts of mercy toward those who are our enemies, toward those who are in deep doo-doo through their own foolish action or inaction, and toward those who are suffering just consequences for acts for which they are responsible. This is where it gets difficult, and this is a dividing line between those who are genuine sons and daughters of the heavenly Father, and all the rest. Even those who are not God's true children have hearts that are tugged by the plight of sweet innocent children, and noble old ladies, and families who are hard-working but still struggling; but sons and daughters of a merciful God have hearts that look in kindness upon those who are our intransigently obstinate enemies. If I am a true daughter of my Father, I have no excuse. "But he doesn't deserve my help!" doesn't cut it for someone who has already been shown undeserved mercy .
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