THE MERCY OF GOD

Scripture Reading: Genesis 19:1-23

“When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them.” (Genesis 19:16)

We now come to the destruction of the evil cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. God sent two angels to destroy them (18:20). When the angels arrived in Sodom, Lot quickly invited them into his house. One evidence of the exceedingly grave wickedness of the city was when the men of the city came to Lot’s house — “They called out to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them'” (v. 5). These men had no idea that they were dealing with two of God’s powerful angels.

The angels came to deliver Lot and his family before they destroyed the city. This was an act of God’s mercy. The angels warned Lot sternly — “Do you have anyone else here — sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that He sent us to destroy it” (vs. 12,13).

What is so amazing is to read the words — “When he hesitated.” Lot hesitated to leave the city with his wife and two daughters. It is hard to imagine why he did so. Lot evidently had compromised so much that his heart had become part of the city. He had given way to the world and was was willing to take his chances on survival rather than leaving the city.

But God would not let Lot go. The angels took Lot, his wife and two daughters out of the city by force. We are given the reason for this — “for the Lord was merciful to them.” Lot deserved to die with the others in the city, but God spared him. God’s mercy is what we do not get that we deserve to get. Lot deserved God’s wrath, but God spared him from it. Lot escaped the judgment of God solely on the basis of God’s mercy.

We likewise are the recipients of God’s mercy. We deserve God’s displeasure and wrath; but God has been merciful to us by not giving us what we deserve. However, granting us mercy cost God greatly. God gave His Son who bore the punishment we deserve so that He could grant mercy to us. We must never take for granted what it cost God to give us mercy.

Merciful God, thank You for sparing me from Your displeasure and wrath. Thank You for sending Jesus to bear the punishment I rightly deserve. Your mercy is so great and all encompassing. Thank You for delivering me from my bondage to sin and giving me new life in Christ.

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