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In Genesis, when God created man and put him in the garden, scripture says everything He made was "very good" (Gen. 1:31). That was God's mercy. Man didn't merit or earn His mercy.

Then when Adam and Eve sinned, they were driven from the garden, but that was for their protection. If they had partaken of the fruit of the tree of life in the state they were in, they would have been eternally lost. God covered them and in a sense, the covering was God's mercy.

Sometimes people think about the flood as judgment, but Noah preached for over 100 years while he was building the ark, and the Bible very clearly tells us the time frame was the mercy of God, giving the people a long period of time to repent. Noah was called "the preacher of righteousness." He preached an illustrated sermon every day!

All of the people could have helped Noah build the ark, and no doubt each person would have been allowed entrance into the ark before the flood if they had simply received the mercy of God.

In 2 Peter 3:9, the scoffers and mockers were asking, "Where is the promise of Christ's coming? You New Testament Christians have been saying that He is coming soon." Peter answered that mocking statement: "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

God's will is that not one person would be lost; therefore, He is longsuffering. The time until Jesus' return is a time for people to receive the mercy of God.

When the Israelites were in bondage in the land of Egypt, God, in His mercy, raised up a deliverer in Moses. Then when Joshua brought the Israelites into the Promised Land, we see God's mercy again.

The people who loved the Lord obeyed Him and were blessed, but when they began to worship idols, they came under oppression and bondage. Finally, they repented and God raised up new deliverers - Samson, Jephthah, Barak, Deborah and on and on, one after another.

Even though the Israelites were in rebellion, when they repented, God raised up a new deliverer. The mercy of God continually came on the Israelites. Years later, the Israelites asked for a king. The first king was Saul, then David and later Solomon. After Solomon, the kingdom split. The ten northern tribes became the nation of Israel, and the two southern tribes became Judah. We see the mercy of God upon these two groups of people.

Israel continually went into idolatry, but God sent the prophets to them. Remember the situation with Elijah and Ahab: the demonstration of the fire falling from heaven was God's mercy to show the people that the God of heaven was their God and that they weren't to worship Baal.

Still, they turned backward and finally, the Assyrian army took the people captive and replaced what was known as Samaria with aliens and foreigners. The Samarian religion came out of that mixture.

Judah was no different. God sent prophet after prophet to them. Eventually, they hardened their hearts and were carried into captivity by the Babylonians.

Many times we have the concept of the prophets only pronouncing judgment, but their message was, "There is mercy if you will turn to the Lord, but there will be divine judgment and destruction if you do not repent."

They proclaimed the mercy of God to those who would repent.

Source: Mercy and Grace by Billy Joe Daugherty.
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Billy Joe Daugherty
Web site: Victory Christian Center
Billy Joe Daugherty was founder and pastor of Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was also the founder of Victory Christian School, Victory Bible Institute and Victory World Missions Training Center.

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