Many, who read in the Bible, that the LORD of glory is merciful, just assume that they will be the recipients of that mercy. Most today seem to take HIS mercy for granted and it has become commonplace to hear men repeat the mantra that GOD loves everybody the same. The ultimate result of such error is to diminish the wonder of that mercy and to make men think that they are somehow owed something from GOD. Those who hold this view generally become angry if someone points out that the Bible is very clear that both the mercy and love of GOD to men is selective according to the good pleasure of HIS will.
To see this, one needs to look no further than Romans 9:13; where Paul quotes the Prophet Malachi; “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Then he goes on to say; “For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” (Rom 9:15-16)
The mercy of GOD is indeed tasted in some measure by all men, since all breathe the same air, drink the same water, eat the same food, etc. Most men consider these things to be their right and therefore despise the goodness of GOD. Yet, in this manner all have tasted that the LORD is gracious, for HE sends the rain on the just and the unjust, and grants to all men a portion of pleasure in their existence. Yet this is not the mercy that all men ultimately need. For all men (without exception) shall perish; apart from the saving mercy of GOD being bestowed upon them.
All who are given a hunger for this mercy shall see their desire fulfilled, for the LORD prepares the hearts of HIS people to call upon HIM and HE delights to show mercy to those of a broken and contrite heart, who tremble before HIS throne. HE is of a tender countenance to those who mourn for their sin and consider that HE would be just in their destruction. HIS mercy precedes HIS mercy as HE is pleased to bring the blind by a way which they knew not and to show compassion to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness yet find it not in themselves or the religion of this world. “A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.” (Mat 12:20-21)
The Psalmist said, “I have trusted in thy mercy”. The “mercy” of GOD was his greatest source of confidence. Yet he did not just “assume” that the LORD would show mercy simply because HE had revealed HIMSELF to be merciful. Rather he was given faith to rest in the ONE who shows mercy. He said, “I have trusted in THY mercy.”; knowing that HE was ONE who has reserved HIS mercy for those HE has loved with an everlasting love. His confidence was in the REDEEMER of sinners,” Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psa 19:14)
CHRIST is the basis of the trust of those whom the LORD is pleased to call. “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:39) “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.” (2Cor 1:9) “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Eph 1:12-14)
When GOD is pleased to give a man confidence in CHRIST, HE is also pleased to cause that man to “rejoice in thy salvation”. The Psalmist could hardly contain himself. He did not rejoice in “rejoicing”, but rather in the demonstrated salvation which was the work of CHRIST from beginning to end. This is that of which the apostle exhorts the sons of GOD, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” (Phil 4:4) The flesh can easily be stirred up, by jazzy music and orchestrated theatrics, to engage in a joyful display. Many mistake this for biblical rejoicing.
The rejoicing of the Psalmist had one OBJECT clearly in view. The SALVATION of the righteous is CHRIST. HE is the JUSTIFIER of HIS elect. In this they greatly rejoice. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom 5:1-2) “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Gal 6:14) “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:19-20)
The rejoicing of the Saints is not limited to singing, but it does often result in it. The Psalmist said, “I will sing unto the LORD”. Yet this “singing” is not always that which can be heard by others. Paul admonishes the Ephesians “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph 5:18-20)
David said, “I will sing a new song unto thee, O God.” (Psa 144:9) The word “new” which is used here is actually means “fresh”. The worship of GOD’s people is to be new, (or fresh) every morning because HIS faithfulness to us most surely is. “It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lam 3:22-23) HE will not be worshipped with rituals and rote observances. “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)
“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (Heb 13:15) Everything which the children of GOD have or do before the LORD is “by HIM”. All things consist “by HIM”. We pray “by HIM”. Our confidence is “by HIM”. Our faith is “by HIM”. Our rejoicing is “by HIM”. Our salvation is “by HIM”. Our righteousness is “by HIM”. We are justified “by HIM”. We are reconciled “by HIM” We are enriched “by HIM”. We are taught “by HIM”. Our obedience is “by HIM”. Our sanctification is “by HIM”. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20) “Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.” (Psa 116:7-8)
His promise is sure: he’s Jesus thy Priest;
And by one atonement thy sin has condemned,
Then by himself sworn that he’ll love to the end.
Return, then, my soul, to Jesus, thy Rest;
By faith on him roll, and lean on his breast;
He will not deceive thee; his faithfulness prove;
He never can leave thee, till God is not love.
#639 Gadsby’s Hymns, by William Gadsby