The End of Mercy

Psalm 111:9 “He has sent redemption to His people; …Holy and awesome is His name.”

Observation: Three times in Ezekiel 20 the rage of the Lord overflowed as He recounted the good He had done for the people of Israel and the depth of their sin in rejecting Him. Three times He said that He acted for the sake of His name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight He brought them out (see verses 9, 14, 22). But His anger had reached such a boiling point that when elders of Israel asked Ezekiel to speak to the Lord in their behalf, God said in verse 3, “As I live, I will not be inquired of by you.” In other words, “Don’t even think about asking!” 

Application: It seems clear that God does indeed care how He is perceived by unbelievers. He pours mercy upon mercy on us as we fall short; He is more “for” us than anyone else on earth. He doesn’t worry about how much time it takes to bring us to Himself; He lives outside of time. 

But we who live “in” time should be profoundly worried about its passage, because one day no more mercies will flow; I will have come to the end of life, and to the end of mercy. His name is holy and awesome! Whether I have received His overflowing mercy or not, there will come a time when every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord (see Phil. 2:10­–11). 

The Israelites had come to their end of mercy; their destruction would look to the watching pagan world like something harsh and arbitrary, even capricious, and His name would thus be profaned in the eyes of the watching world. Yet all the Jews would know within their hearts how great had been His mercy and how deserved was His destruction. 

Similarly, when I come to the end of time and mercy runs out, there will be nothing left but to bow before Him and confess. Whether I bow as a sinner about to be cast into eternal, deserved destruction or as a voluntary lover of God, depends upon the choices I make today. I must either follow Him with increasing passion or gradually fall away into eternal darkness by my daily choices. His name is holy. His name is awesome. Am I living in pursuit of the holy and awesome One, or am I living like one who once said yes to Him and then, like Israel, permitted my daily existence to descend into a place where mercy comes to an end?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me for every pursuit, every passion, that draws me away from you. Forgive me for spending time and money on things that have no eternal value. I choose today to turn my heart again toward You.

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