This is God’s message to me concerning my reaction to the sentencing of Bowe Bergdahl. As a 33 year Army retiree, I was angry when I heard the sentence.
God reminded me that the mercy He showed me, when Jesus died on the cross for me, should be extended to Bowe Bergdahl. Bowe Bergdahl was a soul for whom Christ died.
THE MERCY OF GOD
The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. 9The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. (Psalm 145:8-9)
DEFINITION OF MERCY:
A personal characteristic of care for the needs of others. The biblical concept of mercy always involves help to those who are in need or distress. Such help covers a broad range, from assistance in finding a bride to God’s forgiveness of sin. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
1 a: compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power; also: lenient or compassionate treatment <begged for mercy> b: imprisonment rather than death imposed as penalty for first-degree murder 2 a: a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion b: a fortunate circumstance <it was a mercy they found her before she froze>3: compassionate treatment of those in distress <works of mercy among the poor> (Merriam Webster)
INTRODUCTION: A soul for whom Christ died
Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:6-7, 21-24)
6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 21Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. 22And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: 23Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Gods’ mercy-no death, blood applied to their sin
JOSEPHS DREAM (Genesis 37:5,11)
5And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. 11And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
JOSEPHS BETRAYAL BY HIS BROTHERS (Genesis 37:23-28)
23And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him; 24And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. 25And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their Camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. 26And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? 27Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. 28Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.
God shows His mercy on Joseph not allowing his brothers to kill him.
Joseph is a slave to Potiphar (Genesis 39:2-3)
2And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
Joseph runs from sin (Genesis 39:7, 8, 12)
7And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. 8But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; 12And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.
God’s mercy not allowing Joseph to commit sin
Joseph imprisoned (Genesis 39:20-21)
20And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. 21But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
Joseph promoted from prisoner to prince (Genesis 41:39-40)
39And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: 40Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.
God’s mercy took the ridiculed to ruler
Joseph reveals himself to his brothers (Genesis 45:3, 6-8)
3And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. 6For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. 7And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. (Genesis 50:19-20)
God mercifully protected Joseph’s life but also the whole family. The mercy Joseph was shown by God he passed on to his family. Do we do that?
NATION OF ISRAEL
Passover (Exodus 12:29, 31, 32, 36)
29And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. 31And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. 32Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. 36And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
God’s merciful release from being slaves of the Egyptians’
Israel’s disobedience (Jeremiah 25:4-9)
And the Lord hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.5 They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever:6 And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt.7 Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the Lord; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.8 Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words,9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.
God mercifully did not destroy the nation of Israel, His chosen people.
Restoration of Israel (Jeremiah 33:7-11)
And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. 8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.9 And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it. 10 Thus saith the Lord; Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast,11 The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the Lord.
God has mercy on Israel
Saul persecutor of the disciples (Acts 9:1-2)
1And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
God mercifully did not kill Saul for his wickedness
Saul’s conversion (Acts 9:3-6, 17-18)
3And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 17And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
God allows Saul to get saved and to serve Him to bring many to Jesus
What was the cost?
23Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. 29Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? 30If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. 31The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.
God mercifully used and protected Paul as he ministered
APART FROM THE MERCY OF GOD WE WOULD BE SERVING SATAN
We do not deserve to be here.
Romans 3:23 ALL HAVE SINNED
23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3:10 THERE ARE NONE RIGHTEOUS
10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Romans 6:23 THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH
23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
John 1:12 CHILD OF GOD
12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
1 John 5:11-13 ETERNAL LIFE
11And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.