Today's Foundations Devotional: Mercy in the midst of judgement

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Memory verse:

You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God,

am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to

the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy

to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

(Exodus 20:5-6)

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Perhaps the most striking example of God’s mercy in the midst of judgement is contained in the story of Rahab, as recorded in Joshua chapters 2 and 6.

From the standpoint of both background and environment, Rahab had everything against her. She was a harlot, belonging to a race appointed to judgement, living in a city appointed to destruction. Yet in humility and faith she dared to cast herself upon the mercy of God, with the result that she and her whole household were spared, and she herself, through marriage to an Israelite, became a member of the direct line from which the genealogy of Christ was derived.

Thus the case of Rahab proves that no soul is necessarily damned by background or environment. No matter how dark the background or how corrupt the environment, personal repentance and faith on the part of any individual will cancel God’s judgement and call forth His mercy instead.

We find, then, that history, illuminated by Scripture, unfolds the outworking in human affairs of both the judgement and the mercy of God. Even in the midst of the severest judgements, the underlying purposes of God are still those of grace and mercy. For this reason, the revelation of God at work in history is summed up in Psalm 107:43.

Whoever is wise will observe these things, and they will understand the lovingkindness [more fully, the covenant-keeping mercies] of the Lord.

For the believer, the supreme lesson of history is the revelation of God’s unchanging faithfulness in working out His covenants of grace and mercy. However, we must not make the mistake of supposing that full and final judgement upon all men’s actions is administered upon the scene of time. Paul warns:

Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgement, but those of some men follow later. Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden (1 Tim. 5:24-25).

A similar warning is contained in Ecclesiastes 8:11.

Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

Both these passages warn us that God’s judgements are not fully revealed in time. This applies both to the punishment of the wicked and to the reward of the righteous. For the full revelation of God’s final judgements, we must pass beyond the scene of time into eternity.

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Prayer:

Lord God and eternal Judge, I deeply realize, Lord, what a wonderful

grace You have given me and to millions of spiritual brothers and

sisters. I pray Lord that the awareness of an eternal judgment which awaits

all humanity after this life will grow in the world around me, in my family and

in the depths of my own heart. Amen.

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