And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth (Exodus 34:6). God revealed Himself to Moses, declaring that He is merciful and gracious.

These two beautiful attributes are similar, but they are not the same. Mercy is when that which is deserved is withheld and grace is when that which is underserved is given. Mercy withholds deserved punishment whereas grace gives underserved favor. Today, we will focus on God’s mercy.

Mercy flows from God, because He is the “Father of mercies” (2 Corinthians 1:3). This attribute of God tells us that God shows mercy because He is merciful. You may show mercy to an ornery neighbor boy because you long ago received mercy for being an ornery boy. You may show mercy to a bad-tempered cashier by ignoring it because you feel it is your duty to show mercy. God is not compelled to “repay” a mercy and God is not under an outside law to be merciful out of duty like we are. Mercy flows from God because that is who He is. Luke 6:36  “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” We are to be merciful to others because God the Father is merciful. His mercy is abundant and everlasting (Psalm 136).

God delights showing mercy (Micah 7:18) and takes pleasure in those that receive His mercy. Psalms 147:11 “The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.” What could be better for a guilty man than to receive mercy from the judge? God is a judge that delights in being merciful and takes pleasure in those poor souls who deserve punishment for their sin, but flee to Him for pardon.

God delights in those who trust in His mercy for salvation.

God shows mercy to the unrighteous (Hebrews8:12) and pardons the guilty sinner. God’s mercy shows us the only way to salvation is through Him because God is the offended party in our sins. Sin is rebellion. It is disobedience. It is disloyalty. It is high crimes against the King of glory.

God’s mercy is showing compassion to the miserable by withholding His wrath towards those who have offended His holiness. You cannot be merciful to those that deserve it or earn it. The guilty never cry out “give us what we deserve!”, rather the guilty man’s plea is “have mercy.”

God shows mercy, by withholding what we deserve, not punishing us for our sins, but instead He punished a substitute; Jesus Christ. Poor and wretched as we are, by trusting in Jesus, we receive mercy and pardon because God is merciful. With great compassion and loving kindness, God shows mercy and pity. God would have been just to send us all to Hell, but the merciful God chose to display His mercy in the salvation of sinners. God delights in rescuing the beaten, the broken, and the hopeless.

Do you need mercy?