Mercy may not remove consequences
One truth about God’s abundant mercy that should cause us to fear God is that mercy does not always remove consequences.
When we make bad choices (foolish or sinful) we are sometimes left with the scars to remind us. Â Why doesn’t mercy remove them?
Would we really learn to depend on God? Â Would we really learn to trust God?
So in His mercy He may leave the consequences.
A key principle, in the words of Andy Stanley:
“God is generous with His Grace and thorough with His Discipline.”
Therefore mercy leads to the fear of God. Â Not a fear that makes us run from God, but run to God and away from sin toÂ embraceÂ the mercy He extends.
The book of Haggai is a great illustration of this principle. Â God, through Haggai, calls on the returned remnant of Judah to make Him their priority.
Those who returned from exile quickly began the work of God–rebuilding the temple, so that God could dwell in their midst. Â But as quickly as they started, they were distracted by life. Â Not just the necessities of life but the luxuries of life. Â They suspended the rebuilding for 14 years, with the constant refrain, “Is it time yet?”
God disciplines them to get their attend and when confronted they repent. They are called to renew their commitment and focus on God first. Â They repent, respond and act. Â But here is where mercy and our timetable collide. Though they hadÂ repentedÂ and were forgiven, they must wait for a number of months before they would see relief from the consequences of their misplaced priorities.
God forgave but did notÂ immediatelyÂ restore what they had lost.
God is merciful.Â God is gracious.Â
There is nothing that can exhaust God’s mercy or grace.
But the consequences of our sin, which require God’s mercy and grace, may remain. Â We may still have the physical, emotional or relational consequences. Â But even with the presence of consequences–Mercy isÂ abundant. Â His mercy is sufficient.
Praise God for His mercy!