I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back, because I have mercy on them. They shall be as though I had not cast them aside; for I am the Lord their God, and I will hear them. (Zechariah 10:6)
Mercy And Forgiveness
It is very clear when reading the books of the prophets the Lord is angry with His people. Whether prior to captivity or after captivity, the fierce judgment of God is rendered upon a rebellious people refusing to repent. In the early days of the divided kingdom, God’s messengers pleaded with the people to change their hearts. The northern kingdom Israel went into complete revolt against the Lord and was destroyed by the Assyrians. During that time, God warned Judah to see what was happening to her sister Israel and change her ways. There were good years of righteousness intermingled among the wicked and eventually Judah fell to the might of the Babylonians who took them captive. Seventy years later the people return to rebuild their nation. As before the bondage, prophets warned the people against turning away from the Lord. The fierceness of the wrath of God was clearly portrayed in their history and would be brought against them again if they fail to obey. All nations who came against the people of God felt the power of the Almighty’s wrath.
Zechariah was a prophet during the days of restoration following captivity. He begins his message with the warning the Lord was angry with their fathers and they should not follow their disobedience. There is great hope in the promise of God’s love for the people and that He will save them. His mercy will be evident in forgiving them of their sins and embracing them once again. The Lord tells them He will have mercy on them and this mercy will be so great it will be as though nothing had happened against them. Reading the history of Israel it seems hard to think a day would come the nation would forget all the misery and horror that was their burden. The punishment of the Lord was immense. Their sin was so grievous and the hand of the Lord was so hard against them. Mercy brings forgiveness. The joy of being a child of God is to know His mercy removes the guilt of sin completely. It is as if sin had never been committed.
There is a path to salvation. Sin mars the relationship with God separating man from Him. In the infinite mercy of God, a way of escape is offered. Man turns his heart to God in repentance and the mercy of the Lord God removes the sin as far as the east is from the west. When forgiveness is granted, it is as if the rebellion never occurred. Man stands whole before the Lord unstained by the ugliness of sin. The mercy of God is so unbelievable to think He would take away the sin and its guilt so complete He looks at it as if it never happened. Forgiveness is complete. It is gone forever. There is no record of the sin. Washed clean by the blood of the Lamb.
In the mind of God, there is no remembrance to forgiven sin. The mercy of God is hard to understand but His promise is true in Jesus Christ that if we confess our sins He is willing and just to forgive our sins. This means it does not exist. The forgiven shall be as though He had not cast them aside. Understanding the mercy of God is to know that in forgiveness He remains our Father, our Lord and our Savior. He hears us. Mercy means that God hears us. We are not downtrodden or forgotten. The Lord God has forgiven our sins and we are blessed with the merciful grace of His love. Thank God for His mercy and His forgiveness.