May 26, 2019
The prophet Micah was a prophet to the southern Kingdom of Judah, during the reign of the 3 kings, Jotham, Ahaz & Hezekiah, 735-710 BC. The society of Judah at the time of Micah was riddled with injustice, exploitation & abuses.
God said through Micah that what He demands from his people is “to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.” Micah 6:8.
From Micah 6:1-8 we looked at God’s Values and how our outward actions need to be more than just religious rituals but a response to what is already in our hearts.
They are outward actions (which in order for them to be genuine need to come from) a heart where justice, mercy & humility have an inner rule. God requires heart religion every time. See 1 Samuel 15:22.
There are religious forms that have a place in Christian living – going to church, breaking bread, Bible reading, prayer, devotions abstaining from certain things. But religious form must reflect & represent a religion of the heart, but not replace it. Outward form can never substitute for inner faithfulness. Sacrificial rams & rivers of oil speak of external religion, but justice, mercy & humility speak of a religion of the heart.
Last week we looked at “Doing Justly” and what that means, this week “Loving Mercy”.
What is your definition of mercy? Is it an attitude, is it something you do, both or more?
What does God’s Word say about His mercy? Discuss the following: Psalm 86:15, 145:9, Lamentations 3:22-23, Psalm 25:6-7
What is the difference between mercy and grace? Consider the following:
Mercy is not giving someone what they deserve, grace is giving them what they don’t deserve.
Where does the requirement for justice fit in? Discuss George’s comment on justice and mercy:
There is however a challenge with the demand from God that we are to do justly & love mercy. Justice & mercy are sometimes seen to be in conflict. The action of mercy may seem to compromise the requirement of justice. Resolving this “conflict” between mercy & justice has particular significance for God. Righteousness & justice are fundamental aspects of the character of God, which to violate would necessitate God acting out of character. However, mercy & love are also fundamental to God’s character, which to forego would also necessitate God acting out of character. God’s justice expresses His righteousness, while God’s mercy expresses His love. However, God’s righteousness, exercised in & through His justice, can never be compromised by God’s love exercised in & through His mercy. So, how can a righteous & just God show mercy?
The answer is found in the wonder of God’s mercy, which makes provision for God’s justice. This is what happened at Calvary! Through the Cross, God’s mercy is released to us because God’s righteousness is satisfied in Jesus. At the Cross God’s Mercy provided a way for God’s judgement to be satisfied & sinners to come to repentance. See Isa 55:7 – God’s mercy still requires a sacrifice for sin that of Jesus & repentance by the sinner. God’s mercy doesn’t cause the suspension of God’s justice. God’s mercy is expressed on the basis that God’s justice is satisfied.
3. Receiving God’s Mercy.
What is necessary for someone to seek and receive God’s mercy? Consider the following:
• Jesus’ parable. Luke 18:9-14.
• David’s prayer. Psalm 51.
• The role of the Holy Spirit. John 16:8-11.
• The use of God’s word. Hebrews 4:12-13.
• The importance/value of assurance. Hebrews 4:14-18, Psalm 23:6 ( Eph. 2:4-5, 1 Peter 1:3-5, Luke 1:50)
The concept of the mercy of God is expressed by various English words: love, mercy, loving kindness, everlasting love, merciful, tender mercy, compassion.
Biblically, God’s mercy is the basis on which salvation is granted. This salvation granted by the mercy of God includes the forgiveness of sin and access into the presence of God.
The concept of God’s love and mercy is directly related to the fact that there is nothing good, nothing positive in us. Salvation, acceptance by God, and answered prayer are all undeserved. We can never merit them. God’s love, God’s mercy, operates specifically in the absence of merit. Once there is merit there is no longer mercy, but a just payment or reward for our attitudes, choices and actions. It is this utter undeservedness that makes his love and mercy so amazing, so overwhelming….
4. Loving Mercy.
Do we need to understand and know from personal experience what God’s mercy is before we can really ‘love mercy’? Give reasons for your answer.
What does Micah 7:18 tell us how God feels about showing mercy? See also John 8:10-11.
What is the principle we see in the following:
• 1 John 4:19.
• Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13.
• Luke 6:27-36, Matthew 5:7.
What does “loving mercy” look like in practice? Someone who “loves mercy” will be quick to commend not to condemn; quick to give favour not find fault. Loving mercy is about giving others some space to not be as perfect as we are. To love mercy is to find ways to forgive not reasons to rebuke. To love mercy is to be generous in encouragement not harsh in criticism. To love mercy is to prefer to be a supporter than a critic; to be a mediator rather than a judge. To love mercy is to seek to right the wrong doer not merely to right the wrong that has been done. To “love mercy” is an impulse that takes pleasure in acts of compassion, forgiveness & kindness.
While God demands that you & me, “Love mercy”, I suspect that God’s desire is that “loving mercy” is something we delight to do. This is because mercy is God’s delight – Micah 7:18.