John Hagee - Blessed Are The Merciful
Consider the miracle of mercy. We all love mercy, especially when we're receiving it. The story of mercy behind Psalms 57 is this: David is fleeing for his life from king Saul. David ran from king Saul almost ten years, living in caves because Saul hated him. Why? Because the women of Israel were saying, "Saul has slain his thousands, but David has slain his ten thousands". It was the political egotism then that we see now on Fox News. It hasn't changed. The story is that David was fleeing for his life and he's hiding in the cave at En Gedi on the western shores of the Dead Sea.
If you have ever been there, you know that caves are everywhere. King Saul was sure that he had David trapped, because king Saul had 3,000 men with him and they had David captured. And they were going to execute him the next day. Saul and his royal guards had selected a cave in which to spend the night. What Saul did not know is that David and his men were sleeping in the same cave in the very dark corners, hardly daring to breathe. Isn't it interesting when bitter enemies find themselves, by divine appointment in the same cave, in the same church, on the same pew, or sitting around the same dinner table?
Finally, the campfire died down. Saul and the royal guard slept. David's men whispered, "David, this is your chance. We can stop running from this guy. Shoot him. Put that spear right through him". "God has delivered this demonic murderer into your hand". David said, "No". Beckoning his men, they tiptoed out of the cave. On the way past Saul, David took Saul's razor-sharp spear and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe. It was an act of absolute mercy. He could have easily killed him. The next morning, he went to the cave, the mouth of the cave, and waved that skirt so that Saul and all of his men could see that his life had been spared in one of the greatest acts of mercy in the Old Testament. David asked God for mercy in Psalm 57. The fact is that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a God of tender mercy.
The Bible says in Lamentations 3, "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning". David writes, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life". The point: you cannot escape God's goodness and mercy. They follow you around day and night. Early in the scripture, God wanted man to know about his mercy. He instructed Moses in Exodus 25, "And you shall put on the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark, you shall put the Ten Commandments that I give you".
Listen very clearly. Everything that God created in the tabernacle physically was actually demonstrated in life in the New Testament. The mercy seat is a picture of God's mercy and Christ dying at the cross. All of this was orchestrated by God. There are the Archangels. There is the blood on top of the mercy seat. The mercy seat was sprinkled with the blood of the sacrificial lamb for sin. Why? Because when God looks from heaven at you, he looks through the mercy seat and the blood before he can see the Ten Commandments, which is the basis of judgement. His judgment is based on mercy. His judgment is based on mercy. The blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled by the high priest on the gold lid of the mercy seat.
Paul wrote, "Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin". The crimson stream of blood that flows from Calvary is the secret to your salvation and to your salvation, to your salvation, and to my salvation. We sing the song "What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus: what can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh! Precious is the flow that washes white as snow: no other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus Christ". There is power, wonder-working power, in the blood of the lamb. The blood will never lose its power. It reaches to the lowest hell, to the highest heaven. It washes write as snow. It makes the sinner forsake his way. It removes the guilt of the past and the fear of the future. It breaks the chains of misery and habit that enslave you. One drop of that blood makes every demon in hell tremble with fear! Give the Lord praise in this house!
If Satan can take the mercy out of Christian conduct, he can kill Christianity. If the church becomes obsessed with the Trinity of buildings, budgets, and banquets, and loses compassion for the lost and the dying, we should close our doors and write "Ichabod" over the doorpost. "Ichabod" is a word that means the glory of the Lord has departed. The church without mercy is a tree without fruit. It is a well without water. It's a cloud without rain. Christianity without mercy is just another cult. The church is a hospital for the wounded. It's a place for the brokenhearted. It's the place where prodigal sons and prodigal daughters can come and have a new beginning. We're not trying to cast people out. But who we can bring in.
Mercy is most difficult to demonstrate because man is inherently self-centered. A person that's wrapped up in his own self is overdressed. Selfishness short circuits every prayer and it tarnishes everything it touches. Selfishness in your marriage, in your family, in your church or in your business is a cancer. The person, who lives for self alone, dies that way, alone. It is easy to be selfish if you can get along without a family and friends. You hear self-centeredness in your speech. My house, my friends, my desires, my future, my goals, my ambition, my, my, my, my, my, my, my. Shut up. In Israel, there's the Dead Sea. Nothing in it lives. All it does is take in the fresh water from the Jordan river. Because it never gives out, the Dead Sea is stagnant, it's lifeless. It's a useless body of stinking, oily water.
Far too many Christians are like the Dead Sea. They constantly absorb, but they never give out. Ask yourself the question: if everyone gave like I gave, could this church exist? You take in but you never give out. Ask yourself: if everyone prayed like I prayed, if everyone attended like I attend, if everyone served the Lord like I serve, what would this church be? Would it be the Dead Sea or would it be rivers of living water? Listen to this. Mercy will be made manifest. A man may have money in his pocket and not show it. He may have musical skill of Beethoven and not reveal it. He may have the knowledge of Albert Einstein and not expose it. But if a man or a woman has mercy of God in their soul, it will be manifested.
You cannot hide it. Mercy will be manifested by serving. The measure of a man's greatness is not the number of servants he has, but the number of people he serves. The Bible says, "He that is the greatest among you is the servant of all". Say that with me. "The servant of all". Paul served God. And Nero served Rome. Paul lived most of his life in jail and died in poverty. Nero spent his life in a Roman palace, being rich, powerful and self-centered. So what's the point? The point is this: we name our sons "Paul" and our dogs "Nero". Mercy will be manifested by forgiving.
The story is told, true story, of Peter Holm. Peter Holm was a world-famous engineer. He built bridges and railroads and tunnels in many parts of the earth. He gained wealth and fame, but later came to failure, poverty and sickness. He returned to the little village where he was born. And together with his wife and little girl, he eked out a meager living. Peter Holm had a neighbor who owned a fierce dog. Peter warned that neighbor that that dog was dangerous, but the old man contemptuously told Peter Holm, "To mind his own business".
One day, Peter Holm came home to find that fierce dog at the throat of his little girl on the ground. He tore the dog away, but the dog's teeth had gone too deeply, and the little girl died. The sheriff shot the dog. The neighbors were bitter against the owner. When sowing time came, they refused to give him any grain. Grain, because his fields would not produce anything for him to eat. He could neither beg, borrow of anything, nor buy seed. Whenever he walked down the road, the people of the village sneered at him, but not Peter Holm. He could not sleep at night for thinking about his neighbor.
Very early one morning, he rose and went to his shed and got his last half bushel of barley. He climbed the fence and he sowed seed in the field of the man that broke his heart. When the seed came up, it revealed what had happened, because part of his own field was bare, while the field of his neighbor was green. Listen to what I'm about to tell you. Mercy requires that we sow seed in our enemy's garden. Are you that merciful? When the prodigal son came home, his father didn't say, "You long-haired hippy, you spent all the money I gave you. You disgraced my name. You come into my kosher home smelling like a hog". But his father said, "My son was dead. He's alive". "Kill the fatted calf". Call the mariachis. Let's celebrate. Honor the Lord with the firstfruits of all your endeavors and see your blessings return in abundance.
Mercy looks for a way to forgive. Can you forgive your husband for the pain he caused you? Can you forgive your wife for the things she said about you when she was screaming to the top of her lungs? Can you forgive your children who have disappointed you? And your children will disappoint you. Forgiveness is not optional. Jesus said, "If you forgive men their trespasses, your father in heaven will forgive you your trespasses. But without forgiving others, there is no forgiveness for you". That's God's word, not mine. The Lord's prayer is, "Forgive us, as we forgive those..."
Mercy looks for a way to forgive. Listen. Mercy will be manifested in restoring those who have fallen into sin. Paul said, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you who are spiritual", hear that? "You who are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness: considering yourself..." Mercy searches for a way to restore a fallen brother or sister. The religious will say, "He got what he had coming to him. Kick him out of the church. Shun them". The Bible says, "You who are spiritual, restore them". If you're spiritual, restore them. Mercy says, "This is my brother," "This is my sister," "They're hurting".
One good hug can make the difference. When you meet, your arms hug them, forgive them, restore them because that's what Jesus would do. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians to correct the church for sexual misconduct. I want to tell you, 1 Corinthians believers really botched it. They had financial mismanagement in the church. They were getting drunk at communion. Think about that. The Bible says, who does that is punching their ticket to hell. That's what he says. In 2 Corinthians, they repented and they were restored by Paul. And he writes these words, "I have confidence in you in all things". All of that you used to do is now forgotten and forgiven. This is a new beginning and I'm not going to drag it up every six weeks.
Think of the healing power. If all of the people who ever came to know Christ in America would come together and live under the canopy of the love of God for each other and live by the principles of righteousness, this nation would have a voting base that would put someone in the White House who would at least be legal. Mercy is greater than sympathy. Sympathy is not mercy. Sympathy is an emotion. And sometimes it goes away instantly. Sympathy is an emotion sometimes followed by tears. There are those who weep easily, and their tears are meaningless and without worth. It's all right to weep if you're willing to do something when you get through weeping.
The Bible says, Jesus wept, and then he went to the cross and died to back up those tears. Let's make it something more practical. If your brother or your sister has a need of $20 and you have $40 in your pocket, give them $20, you tightwad. Solve the problem. Listen. Don't ever pray about a need you can solve. Don't ever pray about a need you can meet. Only the spiritually strong can show mercy. Jesus was mighty and he was merciful. Tender mercy drove him from the balconies of heaven to a stinking manger with cattle, donkeys and goats. Tender mercies compelled him to kneel beside a prostitute and say, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more".
The religious, the pompous, the pharisees, the Lords of legalism wanted to kill her. But the merciful great physician, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, said, let's save her. He was mighty. They were weak, ego driven, insecure, unholy, legalistic, as are many Christians in America. His mercy caused him to touch the rotting flesh of lepers. His mercy drove him to Samaria to minister to the social outcasts. The church in America is obsessed with finding the right people. Let me tell you something. Anyone who's lost or hurting, that's the right people. His tender mercy stopped a funeral procession and raised the widow's son back to life.
That funeral procession became a parade. Tender mercy caused him to weep over Jerusalem in the Garden of Gethsemane. Tender mercy compelled the Creator to allow the created to bind his hands to a trial of mockery. Mercy commanded that he stretch out his arms and allowed the Romans to kill him. Mercy formed the final words from his blood-soaked lips. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do". Mercy begets mercy. The price of mercy is not a massive collection of rubies, diamonds, sapphires, Pearl, gold or silver. The price of mercy is mercy. Proverbs 11:17 says, "The merciful man does good to his own soul".
Proverbs 21 says, "He who follows after mercy finds life, righteousness, and honor". David showed mercy to king Saul. Later when he sinned deeply, and David did sin deeply, he had a man killed. God's mercy spared David's life. God has a mercy bank in heaven. Every time you are merciful to another person, he puts that much mercy in your account. How much do you have in your mercy account? Proverbs 11:17, "The merciful man (or woman) doeth good to his own soul..." "The merciful person doeth good to his own soul". God's keeping an account. Some day, when you really foul up, and you will, God says you've got just enough mercy in your account to cover the situation.
The Bible says, "He delights in mercy". God is looking for a way to show a broken, a battered and a bruised society with endless and boundless mercy. We are his hands, his feet, his voice. If the voice of mercy is heard, it must be our voice. Because I assure you, when you listen to the news telecast on America, it is saturated with hate, resentment, bickering, battering. We are a nation so divided: we can't stand each other. Because light and darkness do not mix, light is going to have to get brighter, and that's us. And we get brighter by supporting us to make the body of Christ stronger.
This true story: a teenager was raised in a good home by a loving father. In his rebellion against his father, the teenager broke the law and was sent to prison for ten years. His father was bitter for the shame the son had brought to him. The son wrote letters to the father, saying, "I'm sorry. Will you forgive me"? The father refused to read them. He returned the letters to his son unopened with written, "Return to sender". At the end of ten years, he sent his last letter home. He said in the letter, "I will be getting out of the penitentiary next week. I'm going to take the train that goes by the family farm. If you will allow me to come home, tie a ribbon in the tree beside the tracks and I'll know that I have been forgiven. If there is no ribbon there, I'll stay on the train and never come home again".
He was released from prison. He bought his ticket. He got on the train. And with every turn of the wheels, he was wondering, "Is there going to be a ribbon in that tree or would his father never see his face again"? At last, the train rounded the bend and started climbing the steep grade that led to the family farm. He was beside himself with anxiety. He told the man across the aisle from him, his story and that he was looking for a yellow ribbon in that tree. He said, "Do you see a ribbon in the tree beside the track at the top of the hill"? The man looked. He said, "No, there's not a ribbon: there are hundreds of ribbons hanging in that tree. There are ribbons on the fence. There are ribbons on every bush. There are ribbons on the porch. What does it mean"? He said, "It means my father has had mercy and he's forgiven me. I'm going home"!
Can we stand together? Question: to whom do you need to show mercy? God has a mercy book. He has a mercy account. How does your account look? I want you to pray personally this week about you demonstrating mercy to people that you love, to the body of Christ, to the people in your family. Let's pray this prayer together:
Heavenly Father, let the mercy of God be reflected from the body of Christ. Let it be a healing force for our city and for our nation, as we love one another, as we inspire one another, as we build up one another. But we are brothers and sisters in Christ. We are the family of God. In the authority of your name, may the mercy of God be demonstrated in a very practical and powerful way, in Jesus' name. Amen.