He’s Merciful and Fearful

Take a look at Psalm 67. Only seven verses.

67 God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.

That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.

Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.

O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.

Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.

Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.

God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

It starts with mercy. It speaks of true justice. It ends with fear.

We want to be shown mercy and forgiveness…and yet we don’t. If we are forgiven, we suspect that something better will be expected of us, and we don’t know if we can pull it off. It is here God, a  faultless, all-knowing judge who calls the shot. We know that He is pure, and alone worthy to judge.

But He is also equitable. Never forget that.

In Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice, there is a business venturer who backs by guarantee the trading voyage by ship of a young friend. The money has been borrowed from an unscrupulous lender whose written contract provides that in the event of default the guarantor owes a pound of his own flesh. The lender is a misunderstood and despised Jewish man. The guarantor is a well respected Italian merchant. One suspects that the bloody flesh-pound term in the contract amounts to little more than jealousy.

The ship sinks. The case comes to law before the governing Duke. Will law or equity/mercy win the day?

And now we come back to our idea about an equitable God. He does find a way to forgive. He does find a way to make it legal. The blood of His own crucified Son pays the sin-price. And we are so thankful. And we are set free. And our songs of praise and thanksgiving bring fruitfulness and peace to the places where we live. And we dread the thought of disappointing Him ever again.

And what is our guarantee? Hebrews 8: 7-12.

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