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Jehovah-Chesed: The Lord Is Merciful


By John Paul Jackson





Remember me, O my God . . . spare me according to the greatness of Your mercy!
—Nehemiah 13:22

When I was young, I learned an important lesson about discipline. I discovered that when I got spanked at an “arm’s length” from my father, it hurt worse than if I snuggled up close to him. Later, when I played baseball, I discovered why. It had something to do with momentum.

For those of you who have spent any time playing baseball, you have probably observed that the faster the head of the bat moves, the more powerfully you can hit the ball. Extending your arms generates the momentum needed to hit a home run. But keeping your arms close to your body causes the bat to move too slowly to do any real damage. You must have momentum to launch a hit like Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire.

My dad couldn’t get much momentum into the spanking if I remained close to him, so I learned to stick like glue. But it was another story if I resisted and tried to squirm away. He could then get his arm in full motion.

Compare that with God bringing one of His children, or an entire nation, to justice. Our rebellion or resistance not only distances us from God, but it also places us in a more painful position. However, our heart-felt repentance for sin draws us close to the Father’s side.

In this time of trial, when God is vying not only for America's attention but also her affections, we must press close to the Father. He must be our companion more than anyone else. Instead of running from Him in fear or ignorantly thinking we are beyond His judgments, we must be a people who embrace Him and beg for His mercy—for the Lord is merciful, even when we are more aware of His judgments than we are His tenderness.

God’s mercy is one of the aspects of His nature that stirs our hearts. We expect Him to be just as small and picky as we are—never happy, never content, never satisfied, seeing all our faults, and nitpicking us to shreds. So then, when we suddenly come face to face with His mercy and grace, we are dumfounded. His kindness is so profound, so tender and unexpected, that all we can do is stop in our tracks and just stare at Him.

This is why the Psalmist declared,
“Those who know Your name will put their trust in You;
For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.”
—Psalm 9:10

Fear has to do with punishment (1 John 4:18), but perfect love—that is, knowing God—leaves no room for fear. Fear has no place in the life of an individual who knows the heart and mind of God.

Life does not get any simpler than this. In times of trouble, those who know the heart of God will put their trust in Him. That is what happens—and it is not done in vain. He has never forsaken those who, instead of running, have turned and buried their faces in His side. It is His kindness, after all, that leads to repentance (Romans 2:4).

For more information on the names and character of the Lord, click here to order I AM: 365 Names of God (hardback) by John Paul Jackson.

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