God’s Mercy is Not Limited to My Faithfulness

A father came home from work just before supper and was met by his five year old daughter on the sidewalk outside his house. The little girl was not smiling. “Is something wrong, honey?” he asked. “Yes,” she said, “all day long I’ve been having trouble wi … More

Trouble

In this passage we see how the Lord was constantly having trouble with His people and had to bring  judgement on them because of their disobedience; yet He also constantly responded to their cries. In spite of God’s faithfulness to Israel her history was filled with faithlessness and ingratitude. “Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against his people” (v. 40) and “He gave them into the hand of the heathen” (v. 41). The psalmist recites the sad story of the time of the Judges and many of the kings. Israel was detested (abhorred) by the Lord (v. 40), discarded by the Lord (vv. 41-42) and delivered over and over again (vv. 43-46).

Because of Israel’s sin, “Their enemies hated them” (v. 41) and ruled over them (v. 42). If God had not been gracious to them this would be the end of their story. In spite of their rebellions and murmurings, God still heard their prayers and pitied them (v. 46).

Confession is over and petition begins (vv. 47-48). The writer asks God to end their exile. He recognizes that the return from Babylon was only a partial one but that some time in the future God will end Israel’s exile (v. 47a). Israel will be gathered back in the land, not partially but completely. When Christ returns Israel will recognize Him and “triumph in His praise” (v. 47).

God allowed trouble to come to Israel in order to help them. The same is true for us. Our troubles can be helpful because they (1) humble us, (2) drive us closer to God, (3) vitalize our prayers, (4) allow us to experience God’s faithfulness, (5) make us more dependent upon God, (6) encourage us to submit to God’s will, and (7) make us more compassionate toward others.

Application

This is a beautiful picture of God’s great love for His people who deserved only judgment. Fortunately, God’s compassion and mercy toward me is not limited to my faithfulness to Him. He was merciful to send His Son to die for my sins.

Psalms 106:40-48 (English Standard Version)

Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people, and he abhorred his heritage; he gave them into the hand of the nations, so that those who hated them ruled over them. Their enemies oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their power. Many times he delivered them, but they were rebellious in their purposes and were brought low through their iniquity. Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress, when he heard their cry. For their sake he remembered his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love. He caused them to be pitied by all those who held them captive. Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, "Amen!" Praise the LORD!

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