Psalms 119:156

Psalms 119:156, ďPsa 119:156Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments.Ē

This verse talks about the mercy of God. There are actually many many verses in the Old Testament which talk about the mercy of God. Actually even in Exodus chapter 20 in the very middle of the Ten Commandments the mercy of God is mentioned.

We would expect the mercy of God to be emphasized in the New Testament but to find it emphasized so in the Old Testament might seem like a surprise. After all the Old Testament emphasizes the law and the keeping of the and the consequences for failure to keep the law. Yet the mercy of God is found many times in the Old Testament.

This should be no surprise because just as Hebrews 13:8 says, ďHeb 13:8Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for everGod does not change. He is Holy. He is perfect. His character does not change. Itís not possible for it to change because that which is holy needs no improvement. But even though Godís character does not change. God can can still change His mind from deciding to do one thing to deciding to do another thing. Thatís not a change in character. Thatís simply a change in plan.

Sometimes we call this the permissive will of God as opposed to the predestined will of God. The predestined will of God means God has things He is going to do no matter what. A great example of that would the plan of salvation. Jesus death on the cross for the sins of the world and His resurrection.

Most men when they look at human history to be honest understand very little about it. The reason is is because they look at it from a humanistic perspective instead of Godís perspective. They see what man has done but they donít see what God has done. The history books of the schools of this world are filled with history from manís perspective and though they might get some factsand names and dates and events right they miss all the information about what God has done and is doing.

This is one thing that is so great about the Bible. It is filled without thousands of years of history including what God hasdone and planned. It is accurate to look at human history and to divide into different time periods. Sometimes we call this dispensations. There was the time period of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. There was the time period of Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden until Noah and the great flood. Then there was the time of people such as Job and Abraham until Moses. And then for 1400 years from Moses to John the Baptist was the time period of the Law. Then the age of grace began with Jesus. And it has continued for about 2000 years and it will end with the rapture of the church. Then the seven year great tribulation will begin, the great day of the Lordís wrath, the time of judgment upon the nations.

God has a plan. Itís easy for God to make plans and fulfill those plans because God is God. God is all powerful. God knows all things before hand. And the great mind of God is limited in how many things it can think about at one time.

Now I think it was always God plan to do things this way, to have these different dispensations for the purposes of teaching the world certain truths about the gospel and preparing the world for when Jesus would come.

Now during the age of the law what God was doing was showing the world that man could never of himself keep the law and obtain righteousness through it because man is weak and sinful. That is why Jesus came to live His life as a man and perfectly keep the law then die on the cross for the sins of the world. Only Jesus could perfectly keep the law because Jesus is God.

So the law is our school master to bring us to Christ. But the law teaches us many other things as well. And one of the important things that it teaches us has to do with the mercy of God.

Psalms 119:156, ďPsa 119:156Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments.Ē

It shouldnít be hard to understand the mercy of God. Especially ifone understands the law. This is how the covenant of the law works. Itís a conditional covenant. A person would have to perfectly keep all the law all their life and never break one commandment. That is the condition. If that condition is met then God will meet the other half of the agreement to bless that man with all the blessings of righteousness. Itís called a conditional covenant because based not just on what God will God but on what man does. Now how does this teach us mercy. This teaches us mercy because the consequence of sin, the consequence of not perfectly keeping the law is death.

Itís a harsh consequence but a just consequence. Yet despite this consequence what we find is the mercy of God. Because true death means more than just physical death it means spiritual death, separation from God for all eternity in the lake of fire. The Bible says in Romans 3:23, ďFor all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.Ē Now is this what happens to every man? O No. What happens is that all men have their chance or chances to repent of their sins and trust in Jesus for salvation. SO when we come to understand just how harsh and severe and just is the punishment for breaking the law then we see just how truly merciful God is indeed.

God didnít have to send His son Jesus. He could have sent us all to hell. That would have been just. But God is merciful, so merciful that He sent His only begotten Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins that there might be a way both for His judgment and His mercy. If you do not see the mercy of God revealed in the Old Testament and the New then you are blind spiritually, blind to the truth.

Psalms 119:157, ďPsa 119:157Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.Ē

After talking about the mercy of God now we come to a verse that talks about the enemies of God. In this verse the Psalmist said he has many enemies and many persecutors. You are going to need Godís mercy especially if you want to serve God faithfully in the face of great opposition.

Persecutors and enemies. Notice that the Psalmist said he did not decline from the Word of God despite these things. If there is something that has kept people from serving God and from even coming to Christ for salvation it is persecution and enemies of God.

Just think of some examples. Governments that make laws against Christianity. There have been many governments, if not most governments over the centuries of human history and even today whose laws put pressure on its citizens to not turn to Christ. Some governments make the most extreme laws they can laws which make it illegal to become a Christian or to own a bible and will throw you in jail and execute you if you do so.

Pretty much all Muslim countries are this way. There is no separation of religion and state in muslin countries. And in the Muslim religion those who convert to Christianity are considered worthy of death. This can make it very hard for a person to make a decision to trust in Christ as their savior.

There are many other forms of persecution and many other ways the enemies of the cross of Christ will put pressure on people to turn away from Christ. In a society like America and Europe the pressures of political correctness and what other people in society might think of you, are pressures that can keep a person from coming to Jesus and from serving Jesus.

Itís very well known that most Christians are anti abortion or you could say pro-life, that Christians are against homosexuality and transgender. These issues have become very political in our day. People who take a stand against these things are being treated more and more as though they are racist and unloving and being called bigots. People who take a stand for sexual morality more and more in society are facing persecution. It happened to John the Baptist. He took a stand for morality and he was executed for it.

Psalms 119:157, ďPsa 119:157Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.Ē

Your enemies and your persecution can takeon many different forms. It can come in the form of government laws. It can come in the form of political correctness. It can come in the form of peer pressure from society and from family. The lesson is this. Donít fear the mockery. Donít fear the persecution. Donít fear the pressures of society around you. Donít let these things keep you from coming to Jesus. The salvation of your soul, the eternal destiny of your soul is much too important. And serving Christ, doing your part, fulfilling whatever plan God has for you in the gospel is much too important.

What happens to some people is, though they do manage to make the right decision to trust in Jesus for forgiveness of their sins then once the pressures of the enemies of God, and the pressures of persecution arise it causes them to turn back and to stop serving God.

Donít let it happen to you. The rewards for serving Christ are too great to turn back. The eternal souls of men are too valuable to turn back. The work of God is too important to let enemies and persecution stop us from doing that work.

Psalms 119:157, ďPsa 119:157Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.Ē

If youíre going to come to Jesus do so with some determination. Make the decision and stick with it. Make sure you understand and value just how great is the forgiveness of your sins through Christ and just how endless is the love of God for you.

Those who come to Jesus need to be prepared, prepared to be a warrior. 2 Timothy 2:3 says, ď2Ti 2:3Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.Ē

Coming to Jesus is like signing up for the military during a time of war. So you should be prepared. In fact No one should have to be told this because the attacks come before you even trust in Jesus. There certainly are going to come afterwards.Because it is a great spiritual warfare going on in the world between God and evil between Jesus, his angels, his believers and the devil, the fallen angels, and the lost. The battle is over the eternal destiny of men.

So this is what a soldier needs to do when that soldier enlists for the battle. And that is be prepared. And you get prepared by putting on your armor.

Ephesians 6:10-18 says, ďEph 6:10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Eph 6:11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Eph 6:12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Eph 6:13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Eph 6:14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; Eph 6:15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Eph 6:16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Eph 6:17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Eph 6:18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;Ē

Concerning the devil and the spiritual warfare that goes on 2 Corinthians 2:11 says, ď2Co 2:11Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Donít be ignorant. Donít be ignorant of who your enemies are or of the persecution that is going to come your way. And donít let such things keep you from coming to Christ. The devil is not all knowing nor omni present like God is so how does the devil know how to tempt you and when and where to attack you and oppose the work you do for Christ.

Itís very simple, Satan also called Lucifer, is intelligent and organize. He has is fallen angels and He assigns them to do different things. One of the things He does is assign his fallen angels to study individual people to learn about them, about their strengths and their weakness. This is how the devil knows how to tempt you and when and where who to oppose in the gospel.

Donít be surprised be prepared. Donít be ignorant of Satanís devices. The devil and his angels are going to spy on you, watch you, observe you, there going to look for any weakness you might have in your armor, any bad habits you might have in prayer life, your bible study life and they are going to tempt you to sin. If the devil canít get you to sin then he will simply attack you in any way that to try an oppose you to try and discourage you to try and destroy you you and whatever you are doing for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The important thing to remember is that you are on the winning side, the side of Jesus. Nothing can happen to you that God does not allow. God is in control. Unlike the devil God is all knowing and everywhere present. God knows all about you and Jesus has a plan for you on what He wants you to do in the gospel work He is doing in this world. All you need to do is trust in him and His promises. God knows you so make sure you know yourself as well so that you can be prepared when the attacks and the temptations come.

Psalms 119:157, ďPsa 119:157Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.Ē

There are many things that can keep a person from coming to and trusting in Jesus for the eternal salvation of their soul. One of those things is persecution. Donít let persecution , or the fear of persecution keep you from coming to Christ for forgiveness of your sins and eternal life If you do not know Jesus as your savior then youcan pray to Him right now and askJesus to forgive you of your sins and to come into your heart then you will experience the great tender mercies of God.

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