My children often come to me for advice about a situation in their life. They tell me about what is going on and then ask me what I think they should do. They ask for my advice and I give it to them, but occasionally they end up doing the exact opposite of what I advised. I remember one time in particular, while my son was still living at home, he asked my advice about a situation at school and I told him what I though would be the best thing for him to do. He did not do what I had advised so I asked him a few days later, why he bothered asking my advice in the first place if he was just going to do it his way. But, here I am, still giving him and my daughter advice when they ask because I love them. As a parent with adult children you learn real fast that they are going to make their own decisions. You can give them your advice and your wisdom based off of your own life experiences, but in the end they have to choose for themselves which way they are going to go. You can't force them to do it your way, you have to show them mercy and let them make their ownmistakes.
This is a truth that I am learning in regards to my relationship with my heavenly Father as well. I have been praying and seeking the Lord for wisdom in regards to my business for a few months now. I am kind of stuck and not sure what I should do about it. A few months ago some issues came up and I sought His advice and wisdom. He told me what I should do and how I should go about doing it, but, just like my children I decided to try it my way instead. I know the Lord is right in what He told me to do. He is always right because He is God. But for some reason I am still choosing to do it my way instead of His way. All I can say today is praise God for His unending mercy!
Whether you are running a business, building a ministry, or just living life as a Christian you are going to find yourself seeking God's advice daily. And, if we are wise we will heed it. But, if you are like me you might have to experience a lot of mercy before you get it through your thick skull that God is God and His ways are always better than our own.
Our adventure today takes us back to Nehemiah chapter 9. Nehemiah is recounting for the people gathered all the ways God has led Israel, how He has delivered the, and how He has poured out His endless mercy upon them. From verse 13 of chapter 9 all the way to the end of the chapter Nehemiah states six times that our God is a merciful God.
"You came down from Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven ad gave them right rules and true laws, good statutes and commandments, and You made known to them Your holy Sabbath and commanded them commandments and statutes and a law by Moses Your servant. You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and You told them to go in to possess the land that You had sworn to give them. But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey Your commandments. They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that You performed among them, and appointed a leader to return them to their slavery in Egypt. But You are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them."
Nehemiah 9:13-17 ESV
Nehemiah 9:13-17 ESV
God has shown His people exactly what they needed to do. He gave them guidelines to live by, rules to follow and supplied every single need they would ever have. Sound familiar? He has shown us the way we are to go. He has told us to walk this way and go and possess the land before us. He has also provided everything we can or will every need for the journey in front of us. But what have we done instead? We have done our own thing. We haven't listened to Him and we have not followed the advice and the wisdom that He has given us. But, in spite of all of our rebellion, He has forgiven our disobedience, and been gracious and merciful with us. He has not lost His temper with us, which let's face it, we completely deserve it His wrath. But, because of His great love for us, He is patient with us and instead of getting angry, He chooses to never leave our side.
Can I just take a moment and say that no matter what we do or what we do not do, we cannot wear out the mercy of God. He has never forsaken us, even when we have chosen to forsake Him. He still shows us His abundant mercy each and every day.
"Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, 'This is your god who brought you up out of Egypt,' and had committed great blasphemies, You in Your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud to lead them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go. You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold Your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. Forty years You sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell."
Nehemiah 9:18-21 ESV
Nehemiah 9:18-21 ESV
Even when we turn away from Him and chase after the idols of this world He still does not forsake us. Why? Because of His great mercy. There is no limit to the mercy of God. No matter what we do or what we fail to do His mercy is available and ready to provide for us all we could ever ask for or think of. How many times has He clearly told me to do something, to change something, or to walk a certain way and I, like my children, have chosen to go my own way? Even in the midst of those moments He has given me His Holy Spirit to turn me back, to instruct me so that I did not lack any good thing He has prepared for me. In His mercy He takes my mistakes and can even create them into something glorious for His great name.
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV
Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV
My son, not long after he got married to my beautiful daughter in law, came to me and apologized for all those times he did not listen to me. He said that he realized now how right I was and how wise my advice to him was at the time. He said he should have just listened in the first place and it would have probably saved him a lot of troubles. I admit that my heart rejoiced to hear these words from him, but I also knew that he was still going to make his own decisions and his own mistakes. I could lead and direct based on my experiences, but he had to make the choice in regards to which way to go. My roll, as a parent, is to keep showing mercy to him, just like my Father shows mercy to me.
His mercy never ends. We cannot use it up and He never withholds it from us. It is like a fountain that is forever running and overflowing. It is fed by His steadfast love, a steady and constant stream of mercy flowing for us today, and forever more. We may not have done what He asked us to do yesterday, but because of His great mercy He has given us another chance to do it today. His mercy and His unwavering devotion to us is always flowing to give us His very best. His mercy is new every morning, and how great is His faithfulness to us! Amen?