As for man, his days are like the grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
To such as keep His covenant,
And to those who remember His commandments to do them.
– Psalm 103.15-18
Life is short and uncertain. Our days are like flourishing flowers and fading grass. Imagine what life would be like if we had no hope after death. The winds of time pass over us. The indelible mark we thought we left fades away. No one remembers, but the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting. This is where we find consolation, comfort of love, and fellowship with the Spirit of God.
The LORD’s mercy is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him. His righteousness is passed on from generation to generation. This simple fact governs our character and reveals the mercy of God to greater extents.
- Mercy Governs the Character of Man
- Mercy Glorifies the Character of God
Mercy Governs the Character of Man
The mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him (Psalm 103.17). No pain, no gain. You can’t have mercy without fear. We fear God. This separates us from most in the world. A fear of the LORD changes our hearts. It’s a transforming concept. It keeps us from moving against God. It keeps us desiring to please Him like a child is eager to please his earthly father.
God’s mercy is for those who keep His covenant. This particularly is for Israel. However, Abraham is the father of all those who labored under the Law of Moses and the father of all those who labor under the Law of Christ.
The righteousness of God apart from the Law is now revealed. It the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. Jesus has fulfilled the Law for believing people. Our sins are washed away by His blood. Our souls are renewed by His grace. God provides everything for us. We respond to such a great salvation with the affection of dear children. We lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of us.
But we also remember the Lord’s commands and do them. We fear God. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all thing that I have commanded you, and lo I am with you always even to the end of the age. Amen” (Matthew 28.19-20)
The Law of God is still written upon our hearts. The principles and promise of God are still very certain. The will of God is still very clear. We strive to be perfect even as our Heavenly Father is perfect. We don’t excuse our behavior with the words, “Nobody’s perfect!” Instead, we understand that, “Somebody’s perfect! That Somebody is Jesus Christ, and He wants to perfect us. Don’t trust anyone who tries to discourage you from pressing toward the goal for the upward prize of God in Christ Jesus! Mercy governs the character of Man!
Mercy Glorifies the Character of God
God’s everlasting mercy is juxtaposed over and against our fleeting lives upon the earth. We are as a flourishing flower of the field. James said that we are “as a flower of the field” and we will pass away. “For sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and it’s beautiful appearance perishes” (James 1.10-11). Nobody remembers it according to Psalm 103. It’s hard to contemplate this, but you will pass away, other generations will come up, and they will forget you just as you have forgotten those who have gone before us.
However, God is glorified from generation to generation and from everlasting to everlasting. His mercy glorifies His character. There was never a past when God’s mercy did not exist. There will never be a future when it does not exist. It’s everlasting. He didn’t have more mercy because of my miserable existence. He is unchanging in His mercy. He is determined to show compassion and mercy toward those who have spurned Him. It’s all according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began (2 Timothy 1.9).
We are chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame before the LORD in love. That is accomplished according to His good pleasure and to the praise of His glorious mercy. The acceptance I have right now in Christ demonstrates the everlasting mercy of God. While it is true of Israel, it is also true of the Church of Jesus Christ: God has loved us with an everlasting love and with loving kindness He has drawn us through Jesus Christ (Jeremiah 31.3).
Everlasting mercy means that I can be confident that He who has begun a good work in me will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. He will not turn away from doing me good for all eternity. He will put His fear in our hearts so that we do not depart from Him (cp. with Jeremiah 32.40). God is faithful. His mercy endures forever.
I am fearful when Your mercy leads me to presume upon Your gracious character. I am marginalizing Your authority over me when I do this. I am fearful because I will face great humiliation to learn humility. Be patient and help me respond to Your light chastening.
Set me apart from the world to learn at Your feet. Strengthen me to pursue a holy life. A flourishing, fading life can have eternal value because Your word stands forever. Help me lay up for myself treasure in Heaven. I could lay up many good things in this life. But rust will corrupt them and the moth will eat through them. The thieves will steal them. I never know when my temporal days will end. Today, I ask for Your mercy. Nothing else matters. Life is too short, and so I’m asking for Your everlasting mercy.