Did you know that the word mercy appears in the Old Testament four times more often than it does in the New Testament? What a surprise for those who believe that the Old Testament is full of wrath and judgment!
According to A.W. Tozer, mercy means “to stoop in kindness to an inferior” or “to have pity upon and to be actively compassionate” (The Attributes of God, pg. 79). The Old Testament is loaded with stories of God showing mercy to his people -- and even to his enemies. He listened to the cries of the Israelites as they fled from Egypt. He walked step by step with our biblical heroes: Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David, and even Jonah. God has always been merciful and compassionate, even before the arrival of Jesus as Shepherd, Healer and Savior. Mercy is what took Jesus to the cross.
God’s mercy, his loving-kindness, is always at work in our lives. Because he is just, he must confront our sin and judge it. But at the same time, his goodness confronts our guilt and suffering and results in mercy.
“We all receive God’s mercy, no matter who we are, because otherwise we would have perished long ago,” Tozer reminds us. “God could destroy the whole world, but because of his mercy, he is holding off judgment to give the unbeliever a chance to repent and come to faith in Christ.”
It is often said that mercy is all about God not giving us what we really deserve. However, mercy holds off judgment, but it does not cancel it, apart from the atonement for sin that Jesus provides. And to those of us who have received mercy, we must show mercy.
As nurses, we are widely recognized as being vessels of mercy in our vocation. As Christian nurses, we recognize that our very ability to give mercy comes from our merciful God. May he fill you to overflowing with mercy toward those you serve today!
--Jane Hall, NCF Director
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy” (Psalm 103:8 NKJ).
This is the sixth post in a series by NCF Director Jane Hall on God’s attributes. She is inspired by the writings of A.W. Tozer in “The Attributes of God Volume 1 with Study Guide: A Journey Into the Father’s Heart.”
Add new comment