Title: “He Delighteth In Mercy”
Text: Micah 7:18
Subject: Mercy, God’s Most Pleasant Attribute
Date: Sunday Morning - March 9, 1997
Tape # T-49
The prophecy of Micah deals with two subjects. It is a lamentation of the woeful condition of Israel and a celebration of God’s abundant mercy. The church of God was, in Micah’s time, passing through a very painful trial. The nation of Israel was plagued with the incurable wound of empty, meaningless religious ritualism. The leaders of the people were men who devised iniquity and worked evil. The priests were men of hire, and the prophets prophesied for money. Yet, all that they did was done in the name of the Lord. The religious hucksters were in the majority and the people followed them eagerly. With confidence, they said, “Is not the Lord among us? None evil can come upon us” (3:11). The word of the Lord was precious in those days. There were only a few who truly spoke as prophets of God. And very few heard them. This caused Micah much pain and sorrow.
But Micah was a man who knew the Lord. He had a vision of God’s majesty and mercy. He had received a word from the Lord. And with confident joy he spoke of the latter day glory of the gospel age, when the majesty of God and the mercy of God would be revealed in Christ the Messiah.
· He spoke of the Incarnation of Christ (5:2).
· He told of Christ’s Humiliation and Suffering (5:1).
· He spoke of the Gathering of God’s Elect from among the Gentiles and his Mercy in Christ (4:1-2).
· He spoke of True Spiritual Worship (6:6-8).
· And he told of the Majesty of Christ in his Exaltation (5:4).
Though the people were turned aside unto vanity, Micah’s heart was fixed upon God’s promised Deliverer. He said, “Therefore I will look unto the Lord: I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me” (7:7).
With the eye of faith fixed upon Christ, believing the promises of God, Micah’s heart began to swell with joy, gratitude, praise, and expectation. Unable to contain himself, the prophet of God raises his voice in exultation (7:18-20).
Here is my subject - “He Delighteth In mercy!” O, you fallen sons of Adam, did you catch that phrase? “He delighteth in mercy!” Clap your hands and rejoice before him, with exceedingly great joy. This good news is pure gospel truth. It should raise a universal shout of Hallelujah! The God of heaven, the God whom you have offended, the God in whose hands you are, is a God who delights in mercy! “Who is a God like unto thee,” O Lord? The text not only says that God is merciful, but that he delights in mercy.
I am sure that every attribute of God gives him pleasure in its exercise. But, here, mercy is singled out by inspiration as his favorite. And though all the Divine attributes are eternal, mercy was the last to be revealed.
· His wisdom and power are seen in the creation of the world.
· His wrath is seen in the damnation of satan and the angels who fell.
· His justice is seen in the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden when his law was broken.
· But in mercy he spared their lives, in mercy he promised a Redeemer, in mercy he provided a sacrifice.
You might say that, mercy is God’s Benjamin, and he delights most of all in it. It is the son of his right hand. But it might also be called the son of his sorrow, for the mercy of God came to be revealed in the sorrow and death of God’s well-beloved Son.
Who is a God like unto the Lord our God? He is gloriously sovereign, he is infinitely just, he is perfectly holy, he is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, incomprehensible, and eternal. And “He Delighteth In Mercy.”
It is the glory and the pleasure of God to show mercy to sinners in Christ.
The Lord our God is not a cruel tyrant, or a relentless sadist. Though he is holy, just, and true, he is a God who delights in mercy.
I want to try to answer four questions -
1. What doest the Bible teach about God’s mercy?
2. What is the result of God’s mercy?
3. How can I obtain God’s mercy?
4. What are the lessons for us today?
I. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH ABOUT GOD’S MERCY?
I know that God’s tender mercy is over all his creatures. In merciful benevolence he sends the sunshine and the rain both upon the righteous and the wicked. But, our text is speaking of God’s saving mercy, that mercy of God which causes dead sinners to have eternal life in Christ. What does the Bible teach about this mercy?
A. Our text tells us that God delights in mercy.
Micah’s hope for himself and for Israel was simply the fact that God delights to show mercy to sinful men. No man deserves mercy. But God delights to show mercy to the undeserving.
We do not need to search very far to find abundant proof that God delights in mercy. His mercy is seen everywhere. I know that God delights in mercy because -
1. The very fact that fallen man lives upon God’s earth proves that he delights in mercy.
2. Often, though his anger has been hot against men, he spared them in his great mercy.
· Israel in the wilderness (Psa. 78:38-39).
· Paul - “I obtained mercy!”
3. The fact that you and I are alive today, accepted in the Beloved, sons of God, chosen, redeemed, and saved is abundant proof that God delights in mercy. In abundant, long-suffering mercy, the Lord God preserved us in life and saved us (Eph. 2:4-5).
a. God chose the vile refuse of this world as the objects of his grace, because “he delighteth in mercy.” (1 Cor. 1:26-29).
· He lays hold on the polluted publican instead of the proud Pharisee.
· He saves the wandering prodigal, and passes by the self-righteous religionist.
· He lifts the poor out of the dunghill and sets him among princes.
· He embraces the vile harlot, and rejects the good moralist.
· He takes the dying thief home with him to glory, and leaves the pompous ritualist to his vanities.
b. Though we are now saved by his grace, our conduct proves that God delights in mercy.
We have been ungrateful, unbelieving, and unfaithful. But his mercy fails not! (Lam. 3:23).
4. The greatest possible proof that our God delights in mercy is the sacrifice of his own Son in our stead.
If you have any doubt that the God of heaven delights in mercy, go to Calvary and read of God’s abundant mercy. In order to show mercy to us, God killed his Son in our place. Calvary’s crimson tide spells out one thing most clearly - “He Delighteth In Mercy!”
Mercy there was great, and grace was free!
Pardon there was multiplied for me:
There my burdened soul finds liberty!
B. Mercy is one of God’s glorious attributes.
It is an essential to the character of God as righteousness, truth, holiness, power, and justice. Not until he ceases to be God will he cease to be just. And not until he ceases to be God will he cease to be merciful.
John Gill said, “The mercy of God arises from the goodness of his nature, from his special love to his people, and from his sovereign will and pleasure. As he loves whom he pleases, and ‘is gracious to whom he will be gracious,’ so ‘he has mercy on whom he will have mercy.’”
1. The mercy of God is infinite.
2. The mercy of God is eternal.
3. The mercy of God is immutable.
4. The mercy of God is freely and sovereignly bestowed.
5. The mercy of God is constant and fresh.
C. The mercy of God is in Christ.
It is foolish to talk of Divine mercy or to call for Divine mercy apart from Christ. When Micah says, “He delighteth in mercy,” he is talking about God as he is revealed in Christ. It is a vain delusion of proud and sinful men to trust in God’s mercy when they refuse to trust in God’s Son.
1. God out of Christ is a consuming fire.
2. All Divine, saving mercy is in Christ; and it comes to sinful men only through the merits of his righteousness and shed blood.
a. In Christ the mercy of God is Great - Abundant - Plenteous and free.
b. But out of Christ no mercy is to be had. God does not show mercy, except “for Christ’s sake” (Eph. 4:32).
3. Now, God for Christ’s sake is both able and willing to be merciful to perishing sinners.
II. WHAT IS THE RESULT OF GOD’S MERCY?
In Christ, for his sake, God delights in mercy. It is his glory and pleasure to be merciful. And God’s mercy is active, operative, and effectual. God’s mercy in Christ is gloriously effectual. Listen to what Micah says God will do for sinners, because “he delighteth in mercy.”
A. He will pardon iniquity, because “he delighteth in mercy.”
Zechariah 3:1-5. This word “pardoneth” means that he lights up sin and takes it away. He lifts sin up off of us and lays it upon Christ, the true scapegoat who takes it away.
B. The Lord God passes by the transgression of his remnant, because “he delighteth in mercy.”
Having put away sin by the sacrifice of his Son, God passes by it, taking no notice of it, as if he did not see it. He will not impute sin to his people nor call them to account for it. Through the blood of Christ it is covered, atoned, and washed away. “Our sins are so effectually removed that we shall not ultimately suffer any loss or damage through having sinned” (C. H. Spurgeon).
I know that God forgives sin!
C. God will not retain his just anger against his people, because “he delighteth in mercy” (Psa. 85:2-3; Isa. 12:1-2).
God’s anger, wrath, and justice, being fully satisfied in the sufferings and death of Christ, are turned away from his people.
D. God almighty will turn toward us in compassion, because “he delighteth in mercy” (19-20).
1. He will subdue our iniquities by blood and by power.
2. He will cast all our sins into the depth of the sea.
3. He will perform his covenant of mercy and truth toward us (Jer. 31:31-34).
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).”
III. HOW CAN I OBTAIN GOD’S MERCY?
I hope that the Lord has now given to you a heart to desire this mercy. You know yourself to be a sinner, worthy of eternal damnation. But you hope for God to show you mercy. Now, how can a helpless, bankrupt sinner obtain the mercy of God?
A. Let me give you this word of warning - It is a very dangerous thing to trifle with God’s mercy.
1. Thou God delights in mercy, sin is no trifling thing in his sight.
2. Though God delights in mercy, a prayer or two on your death bed will not secure mercy for your soul.
Every thief repents when he comes to the prison. Every murderer repents when he faces the chair.
a. There must be a through repentance in your heart.
b. There must be true faith in Christ.
c. Mercy must be obtained at the time when God offers mercy.
1. Though God delights in mercy, he will not show you mercy unless you trust Christ.
2. Though God delights in mercy, he will be just.
B. God, who delights in mercy, is willing to be merciful, even to all who call upon him (Ezek. 18:31-32; 33:11).
Why will ye die?
1. When God is willing to show mercy (Mic. 6:2-3).
2. When Christ is willing to save.
3. When the gospel is freely offered.
God has pleasure in mercy, and he can never get pleasure by slaying you; but you must surely die if God’s mercy is not sought!
C. Would you obtain mercy? Then you must sue for mercy at the feet of king Jesus.
The only place to obtain mercy is at his feet. Go to him, go to him now, and cry, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” (The artist and the beggar.)
Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come.
1. Come confessing your sin.
2. Come believing his Word.
3. Come trusting Christ alone.
4. Come pleading for mercy.
IV. WHAT ARE THE LESSONS FOR US TODAY?
Micah, under the Spirit of inspiration, declared long ago, “Who is a God like unto thee...He delighteth in mercy.” But there are lessons in the prophecy for you and me today.
A. Here is a lesson for God’s servant - If God delights in mercy, let his servants proclaim his mercy.
Let every word of human merit be accounted as blasphemy; and let the pulpit ring with mercy!
B. Here is a lesson for all who profess faith in Christ - If God delights in mercy, see to it that you delight in mercy too (Matt. 6:12, 14-15; Eph. 4:32 - 5:10.
· Be merciful to the ignorant.
· Be merciful to the poor.
· Be merciful to the guilty.
· Be merciful to one another.
C. Here is a lesson for you who need mercy - If God delights in mercy, you have no reason to fear seeking his mercy.
There is not one hard, forbidding word in all the Bible to a sinner coming to Christ for mercy. The door is open. The invitation is free. Come to Christ for mercy. Are you willing to have his mercy? If you are, you may! Come, then; sinner come and welcome to Jesus.
Lord, Thou hast won, at length I yield,
My heart by mighty grace compelled.
Surrenders all to Thee.
Against Thy terrors long I strove,
But who can stand against Thy love?
Love conquers even me.
If Thou hadst bid Thy thunders roll,
And lightening flash to blast my soul,
I still had stubborn been.
But mercy has my heart subdued,
A bleeding Savior I have viewed,
And now I hate my sin.