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A Righteous and Merciful God

A Righteous and Merciful God

By: Alistair Begg - June 30, 2023

The Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face. – Psalms 11:7

A righteous God will not accept unrighteous requests. We cannot expect that God, who always does the right thing, will do the expedient thing just for our sake. In our prayers and decision-making processes, then, we ought not to ask ourselves, “What is the easy thing? What is the thing that will get me out of this difficulty the quickest?” Rather, we need to ask, “What is the right thing for me to do?” This is not to say that we will always know precisely what is right. But in our prayers and in our lives, we must remember that we call upon and walk before the face of a supremely holy and righteous God.

Thankfully, God is not only righteous but also merciful. David cries in Psalm 4:1, “Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!” Just as it is unimaginable that a mother would forget the cry of a child that she nurtured at her own breast, so it is unthinkable that God would not hear the pleas of His children (Isaiah 49:15). Such mercy is an astounding truth. We live in a world that operates on the principle that we get what we “deserve,” that we get out what we put in: This is what you’ve earned, and what you’ve earned is what you’re going to get—whether good or bad. But when we come to God, we come to the one who is by His very nature rich in mercy, who gives us what we do not deserve. From Him, we get what we have not earned.

Perhaps your heart has been fractured or your life is buffeted by serious trouble. Still you can cry out to your righteous God: “I need Your unmerited kindness today. I’ve nothing with which to commend myself. Lord, be merciful to me and hear my prayer.”

When that is our approach to God, then we will find fostered within us an attitude of seeking to do what is right, not what is easy. The path to seeking to do “righteous deeds” is to know that the Lord is merciful to His children.

This does not mean that as we come to Him for mercy and seek to live righteously, God will give immediate deliverance. Nowhere has He promised His people immediate relief. He answers us out of the righteousness of His sovereign plan—and sometimes, in His providence, He allows the thorn to continue to pain us (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Yet when the thorn remains, “though the fig tree should not blossom,” still you can “rejoice in the LORD” and “take joy in the God of [your] salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17-18). Because He is righteous, His mercy is never wrong. What may taste bitter for a time God will sweeten soon enough. And one day you will “behold his face,” not just by faith but by sight as you stand with the saints around His throne. With that day in mind, come to Him now for the mercy and strength you need to live righteously today.

About the Author(s)
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Alistair Begg

Alistair Begg has been in pastoral ministry since 1975. Following graduation from The London School of Theology, he served eight years in Scotland at both Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh and Hamilton Baptist Church. In 1983, he became the senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio. He has written several books and is heard daily and weekly on the radio program, Truth For Life. His Daily Devotionals are presented here via a syndication agreement.
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