God spoke of his love for David more than any other person in the Bible other than His Son Jesus Christ, saying David was a man after God’s own heart. To skeptics it’s not rational. To people-pleasers it’s not fair. Why David? An adulterer? But to those who understand what mercy truly is — hope and life — it’s easy to understand. David grew to know the Lord as a young man as he tended sheep under the stars and became one of the greatest worshippers of all time.
Sometimes we just plain need help. Badly. As in “I’m desperate Father — please help me or I won’t make it.” I know I’ve been there, countless times. Mercy is that help. The longer I live, I find myself thanking God that His mercies are new every morning because of His faithfulness.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16.
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.” Colossians 3:12.
Paul’s choice of wording in these verses is very important. Once we dig deeper into the original Greek we can translate what he was attempting to get across to us. Let’s look at the phrase “bowels of mercies” first of all. It is a translation of two Greek words, splagnon and oikirmos. The word splagnon refers to the inner organs of the human body — the bowels. The word oikirmos is translated as “compassion; to deliver; deep urge to help relieve great pain or sorrow.” By using these two words together, Paul was saying we are to put the deep feelings of compassion we have for another to work — involving an act – not a mere “Oh I’m sorry you feel this way.” We should be spurred to action. When we do so, God’s Spirit will work through you to help deliver those who are suffering, sorrowful, or going through a difficult place in their lives. Sometimes people hesitate at this point for fear of being taken advantage of. That happens occasionaly, but it is God who vindicates, not us. These are actually the same two words used in the verses to describe moments when Jesus was “moved with compassion.”
Paul also linked a few other attributes in this verse which we are to “put on” each day, just as we put clothes on daily. These include kindness, humbleness of mind, and meekness. What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word meek? How do you picture a meek man, or a meek woman? I asked a few people yesterday. The answers were not a surprise. Across the board people said “shy, quiet, timid, and even weak.” One added “wimpy.” Would you be surprised to learn the answer is the polar opposite? True meekness means a person is extremely patient under stress; a strong-willed person able to keep his or her emotions, anger, strength, and reactions in check. A meek person is a powerful character with strong opinions and able to not react when in a confrontation. In fact, this same word was used in Greek literature to describe wild beasts, fierce by nature, under control in captivity. In Biblical times, it was a word used to describe medication used to combat anger or anxiety. I don’t know about you, but until I studied these words, I used to think meekness was quiet, soft, and shy as well. God wants us to put on meekness in the morning, always having our spirit and emotions in check so we can help and even diffuse others in tense situations. Strong, yet under control. People can lean on you for support.
The other attribute Paul says to put on is long-suffering. I think many forget this one, just as some forget to put their socks on. Long-suffering is the Greek word makrothumia, which means, “the patient restraint of anger; forbearing; long, long suffering.” This trait is the exact opposite from the way the flesh responds. The long-suffering person is able to remind another God’s mercies are new every morning. They are encouragers, patient and able to forgive as well as forget. Too many Christians forget to put this on in the morning. They are unable to extend or believe for another’s mercies even though they want them for themselves when necessary. They are commonly referred to as hypocrites. Ouch. Time for a spiritual check-up.
Now, we get to the place to talk about those difficult situations in life when we are is desperate need of mercy. Mercy is totally undeserved, unearned. It can only be granted through or by agape love, because it is selfless, requiring or expecting nothing in return. Notice: We obtain mercy and find grace! The word “obtain” is the Greek word lambana, which means, “to seize; to grab; to capture; to take possession of something and make it your own. This is really important. God can extend mercy or make mercies available to you every morning you wake and put your feet on the floor, but if you don’t grab it and possess it for yourself it is of no profit or help to you. If your mind is tormented and you can’t find the strength and resolution to grab that mercy you so desperately need, you’ll find it too difficult to receive. My mother is a prayer warrior. If I had a nickel for every time she told me, “You’re a wonderful giver, but God help you be a good receiver” I’d be a wealthy woman. It takes a deliberate act to take the mercy Jesus offers you. But don’t stop with obtaining mercy — now you need to “find grace.”
The word “find” is the Greek word “eurisko.” It simply means “to find by way of searching; due to an intense investigation; study; or research.” It is where we get our word “Eureka!” We Alaskans know that as a place along the highway to grab or “obtain” a great hamburger and pie. But in the Biblical sense, nothing is left to chance. After working long hours and searching a long time, the effort pays off and we shout, “Eureka! I found it!” In fact, after we find grace, we can become givers as well as receivers. Not only can you take your own needs to the Lord in prayer, but this word eureka also can mean “to acquire something for another.” You can go to your Great High Priest, and obtain for another in need whether that be for healing, deliverance from torment, wholeness in a marriage, or whatever breakthrough they need. This is the point where so many Christians seem to falter.
As a born again Believer in Christ, you have been fully equipped to do what the Word says. Many say, “What can I do for God? I’m not going to sail to Africa and be a missionary. I’m not going to start a church. I don’t feel I have the skills or ability to do much for others. I’m not really a people person. So what can I do?” First of all, you can read all of the “I”’s in that quote. It isn’t about “I” or “me,” it’s about the One who lives within you! If that same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you, you are equipped for much more than just obtaining healing for yourself. Jesus told His disciples not to worry or fret about what to say, because the Holy Spirit would give them the words right when they opened their mouths. Too many people freeze from fear at this point. But even if you’re not “feeling” ready to speak to others, you can surely pray. Go to your prayer closet and reach into those Words of life dwelling in you and obtain them for another. “Lord You promised that…… and that includes…..(put their name) in the Name of Jesus. May they find hope during this time. Strengthen them with might in their inner man. Help them to know the depth of Your love for them.” And so on. You may never know until that Day the power and the fruit from your prayers spoken in faith for those in need. And remember, mercy is undeserved. The Lord is not a respecter of persons. He doesn’t play favorites, and His ear is always open to your cry. Obtain and find! It will change your life, your circumstances, and possibly the circumstances of others. Report for duty soldier of Christ, servant of God. The fields are ripe and the laborers few. Will you answer His call? Then stand still and see the salvation of Your God.
Ruminate on that.