The Wide Stretch of Mercy

“I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and he said:

‘Strike the capitals until the thresholds shake,
    and shatter them on the heads of all the people;
and those who are left of them I will kill with the sword;
    not one of them shall flee away;
    not one of them shall escape.

‘If they dig into Sheol,
    from there shall my hand take them;
if they climb up to heaven,
    from there I will bring them down.
If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,
    from there I will search them out and take them;
and if they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea,
    there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them.
And if they go into captivity before their enemies,
    there I will command the sword, and it shall kill them;
and I will fix my eyes upon them
    for evil and not for good.'” Amos 9:1-4

“Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,’
even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.” Psalm 139:7-12

Infinite, omniscient God spreads His holiness and love over all He has made. There is nothing that escapes Him, nowhere to flee His hand. He looks on both evil and good, sees all, and upholds His word. The magnificent indescribable bridge between sure destruction and assured security is that of His mighty mercy on the cross, spanning the chasm and sustaining all who come to Him. (Psalm 103:6-13; Proverbs 15:3; Amos 9:13-15)

We may feel the chasm is too broad to traverse. We carry too much shame, we’ve procrastinated too long, we can never measure up or change. We carry the weight of judgment on ourselves without recognizing and accepting that Christ came to bear that weight and heal what cripples us. He is the span! (Isaiah 53:4-6; John 14:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21)

His outstretched arms provide, with deepest compassion and love, the way for us to cross. Will we take it? Will we come to our senses about what divides us from our Lord- the crud that piles up between us, the attitudes and proclivities that sully our communion- and get serious about confession? Then will we put it all away? Coming to Him, crossing that bridge, is turning our back on and leaving behind the old city of regret, the dabbling in worldliness, mess of crude and destructive thinking, and ungodly behavior.

“Return, faithless Israel,
declares the Lord.
I will not look on you in anger,
    for I am merciful…
I will not be angry forever.” Jeremiah 3:12

“It shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For… there shall be those who escape,.. and among the survivors those whom the Lord calls.” Joel 2:32

Lord, may I daily trust, travel on, and rejoice in Your wide mercy.

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