God be Merciful to Those Who’re Sinners

Psalms 86:11-13 ESV

“Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.”

The Way of the Lord

What is the way of the Lord? It is the way of righteousness and of holiness, of moral purity and devotion to the Lord. It is the way of honesty and integrity, and the way of love and kindness. It is a walk of faithfulness and of obedience to the Lord in the power of God’s Spirit.

And by the Spirit the way of the Lord is also the putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and not letting them reign in our lives any longer. And it is the surrendering of our lives to the Lordship of Christ, willing to do whatever he commands of us, for we love him and we desire to please him.

We need the Lord to teach us his ways so that we may walk in his truth. And his ways are taught to us throughout the Scriptures, both in the Old and in the New Testaments, although we are not under the Old Covenant liturgical, ceremonial, sacrificial and purification laws the Jews of old had to follow.

And if we are in Christ, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, we have the Holy Spirit of God living within us teaching us the ways of the Lord, too – counseling, encouraging, urging, convicting, leading and guiding us in the ways of the Lord and in the truth of God’s Word. So, we must listen to him.

And if we desire the Lord to unite our hearts to fear his name, then we need to understand what it means to walk in the fear of the Lord, for it involves total surrender to him as Lord of our lives, and it involves us forsaking our sins and following him in obedience to his ways.

And the reason that any of this is even possible in our lives is because of what Jesus Christ, God the Son, did for us in dying on that cross and in being resurrected from the dead on our behalf so that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness.

Psalms 86:14-17 ESV

“O God, insolent men have risen up against me;
a band of ruthless men seeks my life,
and they do not set you before them.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and be gracious to me;
give your strength to your servant,
and save the son of your maidservant.
Show me a sign of your favor,
that those who hate me may see and be put to shame
because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.”

Strength to Your Servant

Who are these insolent people today who are rising up against the saints of the Lord? They are those who do not walk in the fear of the Lord but who walk by the flesh, who are disrespectful and dishonoring to the Lord Jesus and to his gospel. And so they are opposing the Lord’s servants.

They are those who are living by the desires of their sinful flesh, engaging in all manner of evil, who commit adultery against their spouses, who abuse their children, who cheat their companies out of fair work, and who hate and murder and steal and slander in order to get their own way.

Some of them are pastors of church congregations. Some of them are heads of governments or they are other prominent people of enormous influence and power over the people. Others are just husbands and wives and fathers and mothers and just ordinary people of little influence at all.

And they are people who need to repent of their sins and to turn to the Lord and to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ and to follow him in his ways and in his truth, but who are now unwilling and resistant and stubborn and prideful, and so they keep on in their sins in opposing the Lord.

And those of us who may be subjected to their hatred and to their abuses and to their insolence can find hope and healing in the Lord Jesus, and we can find strength and courage to keep on following the Lord despite all opposition against us, and despite the ill treatment against us.

And this is because we understand that God is fully sovereign over all that he has made, and that he has a plan and a purpose for our lives, and so he allows us to be hated and mistreated and to go through times of difficulty, for he is preparing us and strengthening us for what is yet to come.

And when the wicked see the hand of God upon our lives, even while we go through these times of trials and tribulations, if we are responding in a godly manner and in trusting the Lord through it all, it will be a witness and a testimony to them of the goodness of God in our lives.

And part of our response to those who hate and mistreat us is to love them in return, to pray for them, to do good to them, and to speak words to them that will be for their benefit spiritually, emotionally, and/or physically, that will be for their good (as defined by God) to help and not to hurt them.

And what we should be praying for them is for their salvation from sin, for the Lord to draw them to himself, or back to himself if they are those who had believed but had since wandered off and back into sin. For they need the Lord and they need his healing mercies in their lives.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10]

This is a secular song about a man praying to God for the life and safety of a young man who was like a son to him that he might have known if he had not first rejected him. He had now come to his senses and realized that this young man was the love of his daughter and now he wanted to spare his life.

So, this is not an exact fit here, but the Lord keeps putting this song in my head, because it is also about praying for the Lord to spare someone’s life and to bring him home safely, which we can take to mean on a spiritual level that God will save him from his sins and bring him home to faith in Jesus.

Bring Him Home

By Alain Boublil / Claude Michel Schonberg / Herbert Kretzmer

God on high
Hear my prayer
In my need
You have always been there

He’s like the son I might have known
If God had granted me a son.
Let him be
Let him live
If I die, let me die
Bring him home.

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