Mercy from the Word

I. This stanza (Psalm 119:41-48) gives insight into God’s mercy.

A. The mercy of God is “according to thy word.”

1. Psalm 119 is “the” Psalm about God’s word.

2. Psalm 119 uses the phrase “according to thy word” eight times.

a. Psalm 119:9 -- Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
b. Psalm 119:25 -- My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.
c. Psalm 119:41 -- Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word.
d. Psalm 119:58 -- I entreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.
e. Psalm 119:76 -- Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.
f. Psalm 119:154 -- Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word.
g. Psalm 119:169 -- Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word.
h. Psalm 119:170 -- Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.

B. The Word of God is the means by which God conveys His “salvation.”

1. Ephesians 2:8 -- For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God

2. Romans 10:17 -- So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

3. 1 Peter 1:23 -- Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

C. The Word of God is priceless and eternal.

1. Psalm 138:2 -- I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

2. Proverbs 30:5 -- Every word of God is pure

3. Matthew 24:35 -- Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

D. The Word of God is the basis for God’s judgment.

1. John 12:48 -- He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

2. Luke 9:26 -- For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.

II. The holiness of God is an unalterable attribute of God.

A. There is nothing in all creation that can compare to God’s holiness.

1. Exodus 15:11 -- Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

2. 1 Samuel 2:2 -- There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

B. The holiness of God demands worship and praise.

1. Psalm 99:3, 5, 9 -- Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy….Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy….Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.

2. Isaiah 6:3-5 -- And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory….Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

C. The holiness of God shapes all His actions.

1. Psalm 145:17 -- The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

2. Exodus 34:6-7 -- And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

III. The attribute of mercy is stressed in Psalm 119:41-48.

A. The mercy and grace of God are somewhat different.

1. Grace is first mentioned in Genesis 6:8.

a. Noah “found grace” in the eyes of the Lord.
b. Grace is most often connected with “undeserved” acts of God.
1) Romans 11:6 -- And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
2) Titus 2:11 -- For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
3) Hebrews 2:9 -- But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

2. Mercy is first mentioned in Genesis 19:19.

a. Lot begs for “mercy” after his rescue from Sodom.
b. Lot, who is “saved” (2 Peter 2:7), receives the “mercy” of extended life – a postponement of the consequences of his bad choices.

3. Mercy is often portrayed as the withholding of judgment.

4. Grace is often portrayed as the actual gift of favour from God.

B. The mercy of God is often expressed as “goodness” or “kindness.”

1. Numbers 14:18 --The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression

2. Nehemiah 9:17 -- Thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness

3. Psalm 86:15 -- But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

4. Psalm 103:8 -- The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

5. His mercy endureth for ever (Psalm 136 – 26 times)

a. Expressed in creation (Psalm 136:1-9)
b. Expressed in the exodus of Israel (Psalm 136:10-15)
c. Expressed in caring for Israel in the wilderness (Psalm 136:16-20)
d. Expressed in the land given to Israel (Psalm 136:21-24)
e. Expressed in God’s care for everything (Psalm 136:24-26)

IV. The Psalmist asks for mercy because he is living “according to” the Word.

A. He trusts in God’s Word (verse 42).

1. Psalm 18:30 -- As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

2. Psalm 56:4 -- In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

B. He hopes in the judgments of the Lord (verse 43)

1. Psalm 119:114 -- Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word. 

2. Psalm 130:5 -- I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

C. He keeps the Law of God (verse 44)

1. Joshua 22:5 -- But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

2. Proverbs 28:7 -- Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son. 

D. He seeks to obey God’s precepts (verse 45)

1. Proverbs 2:4 -- If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

2. Psalm 119:133 -- Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

E. He speaks openly of God’s testimonies (verse 46)

1. Jeremiah 20:9 -- Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.

2. Ezekiel 3:11 -- And go…unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.

F. He delights in the commandments of God (verse 47)

1.  Psalm 112:1 -- Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. 

2. Psalm 119:143 -- Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.

G. He meditates in the statutes of God (verse 48)

1. Psalm 63:6 -- When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. 

2. Psalm 77:12 -- I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.

V. The Psalmist expects God’s mercy to assist him in his walk with God.

A. He anticipates God’s help.

1. He will be able to “answer” those that reproach him (verse 42)

2. He will know how to speak even among “kings” (verse 46)

a. Matthew 10:19 -- But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.  
b. 1 Peter 3:15 -- But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.

B. He anticipates freedom to live a godly life.

1. He will “walk at liberty” (verse 45)

a.         John 8:31-32 --If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
b. James 1:25 -- But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

2. He will “lift up his hands” (verse 48)

a. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. Psalm 63:4 
b. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens. Lamentations 3:41 
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