Text: Psalm 18:21-26
GOD’S UNIVERSAL LAW
An allegory of men’s lives on earth — “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:7-8).
Many times, the LORD uses allegories to signify men and nations, their principal actions, and the results of those actions. For example, God refers to the nation of Israel as a “flock” (Jeremiah 23:2; 31:10), as “sheep” (Micah 2:12), and as a “vine” (Psalm 80:8; Isaiah 5:2; Jeremiah 6:9). In his declaration of the law of sowing and reaping, God uses the allegory of a man sowing [planting] seed in a garden or a field and reaping [gathering or receiving] the suitable crop. The law of sowing and reaping relates to the many actions of men and the inevitable results of those actions in their lives. God reacts to a man’s actions according to this law.
David’s personal witness — David exemplified the law of sowing and reaping when he testified, “For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight” (Psalm 18:21-24). Any redeemed man in his right mind would desire to have a testimony like David’s.
VENGEANCE AND RECOMPENSE BELONG TO GOD ALONE
RECOMPENSE: ‘To compensate; to make return of an equivalent for any thing given, done or suffered…To require; to repay; to return an equivalent; in a bad sense.’ (Noah Webster, 1828)
VENGEANCE: ‘…the punishments inflicted by God on sinners.’ (Noah Webster, 1828)
The LORD’S justice — To the children of Israel the LORD declared, “To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence…” (Deuteronomy 32:35; Nahum 1:2; Psalm 94:1-3). The Lord recompensed the iniquity and the sin of the children of Israel double (Jeremiah 16:17-18; 25:14; 32:18-19) See also Psalm 94:1-3; Nahum 1:2; Isaiah 65:1-7; Ezekiel 7:1-4, 9:10). With reference to the Old Testament, the scripture says that “every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward” (Hebrews 2:1-4). In the New Testament, the believers are instructed, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19).
It is a great blessing to me that I have been commanded not to take vengeance upon anyone because vengeance belongs to the Lord. Instead, I am commanded, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Jesus also said unto his disciples: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).
God’s judgments and rewards — “Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner” (Proverbs 11:31). All unbelievers will be judged “according to their works” (2Corinthians 11:15; 2Timothy 4:14; Revelation 20:12-13), and every believer will be judged and rewarded “according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12; 1Peter 1:17).
THE WONDERFUL MERCY OF GOD
Psalm 18:25 “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful…”
MERCY: ‘…to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person [God] to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant…. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being’ (Noah Webster, 1828). With reference to the LORD’S mercy, the phrase, “his mercy endureth for ever” (1Chronicles 16:34) is found forty-one times; and all forms of the word ‘mercy’ appear three hundred and sixty times in the Holy Bible.
David declared, “The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy” (Psalm 145:8). Any man who receives God’s mercy by faith in the gospel will not receive the terrible consequences of his sins that he so richly deserves. God’s grace gives the believer the undeserved free gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23). Believers should be very grateful to God that they will never receive the eternal punishment that they deserve!
ACCORDING TO GOD’S MERCY:
Men are saved — Paul wrote, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5). Isaiah declared, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). According to God’s mercy, all men who believe God’s word in their heart—specifically “the gospel of grace of God” (Acts 20:24), will be saved by grace through faith without works (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Peter wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1Peter 1:3).
The scripture also proclaims that “his righteousness” (Psalm 112:9; 111:3), and “the word of the Lord” (1Peter 1:25), and “the truth of the LORD” (Psalm 117:2)—which proclaims his “righteous judgments” (Psalm 119:160), all endure for ever! The Lamb of God alone is “worthy to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Revelation 5:12). Therefore, “his praise endureth for ever” (Psalm 111:10), for the LORD “is worthy to be praised” (2Samuel 22:4; Psalm 18:3).
Men appeal to the LORD — Moses interceded to the LORD for the people and said: “Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” (Numbers 14:19) Nehemiah prayed: “Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy.” (Nehemiah 13:22) David prayed: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” (Psalm 51:1)
Men receive favour with others — The LORD shows his mercy to his people by giving them favour in the sight of others. The “LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison” (Genesis 39:21; 43:14; Nehemiah 1:11).
God blesses them that love and obey him — Under the law, God clearly commanded Israel not to bow down nor serve other gods or graven images: “for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:5-6; 34:7; Numbers 14:18-19; Deuteronomy 5:9-10; 7:9).
God’s mercy is absolutely reliable and eternally trustworthy — Because God himself is “from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 90:2; 106:48; Micah 5:2), therefore “the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them” (Psalm 103:17-18). “David…the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue” (2Samuel 23:1-2). David declared, “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever” (Psalm 52:8; 21:7).
MERCY AND TRUTH MET AT THE CROSS
The mutual purpose of both the Father and of the Son to make the eternal salvation of every man possible was accomplished on the cross at Calvary (Luke 23:33), where “according to his abundant mercy” (1Peter 1:3), “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” (1Corinthians 15:3-4). The psalmist prophesied of this great work of redemption when he wrote, “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven” (Psalm 85:10-11).
God’s purpose was revealed to men when the Lord Jesus Christ was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4)!
The physical body of the Son of God — At his first coming, the eternal Son of God “was manifest in the flesh” (1Timothy 3:16) when he “took on him the seed of Abraham” (Hebrews 2:16) and “was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:3-4). Because Abraham and David were both descendants of Adam, who “is of the earth, earthy” (1Corinthians 15:47), “the man Christ Jesus” (1Timothy 2:5)—who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), in truth did “spring out of the earth” (Psalm 85:11)!
God’s righteous servant — When the “righteous Father” (John 17:25) looked “down from heaven” (Psalm 85:10-11) upon his Son, “Jesus Christ the righteous” (1John 2:1), the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled: “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11).
“The Father of mercies” (2Corinthians 1:3) has:
Great mercy to forgive — Moses made intercession to the LORD for Israel saying: “And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now” (Numbers 14:17-19). Nehemiah prayed: “Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy” (Nehemiah 13:22).
Tender mercy to blot out transgressions — With regard to his sin against Bathsheba, David prayed: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions” (Psalm 51:1; Isaiah 63:7).
Rich mercy, love, and grace to save — “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7): “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Enduring mercy — Speaking of himself, David said, “He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him” (Psalm 61:7; 32:10); “For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds” (Psalm 57:10). “All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies” (Psalm 25:10; 51:1).
Again, David declared to the LORD, “For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them. But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous [abundantly sufficient for every purpose] in mercy and truth” (Psalm 86:13-15). The psalmist declared, “The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy” (Psalm 147:11); and: “Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 106:1)!
AVOID LYING VANITIES
If you observe lying vanities rather than the word of God, then you will forsake your “own mercy” (Jonah 2:8). But the scripture warns, “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart” (Proverbs 3:3).
Religion — Any of the lying vanities of the false teachers of world’s vain religions: those who are “going about to establish their own righteousness, [and] have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3), which is received “through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:9), then you have neglected God’s “great salvation” (Hebrews 2:3).
Science — True science will always agree with scripture. The believer is commanded to avoid “profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called” (1Timothy 6:20).
Philosophy — “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
Are you “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)? He is coming soon!
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).