Friday, August 22, 2008

Mercy Endures

My husband came home yesterday and asked me if I had ever thought about Psalm 118?

Psalm 118:1-4 "O give thanks to Jehovah; for He is good; because His mercy endures forever. Let Israel now say that His mercy endures forever. Let the house of Aaron now say that His mercy endures forever. Let those who fear Jehovah now say that His mercy endures forever. "

The interesting thing is that in some translations the word mercy is translated love. So what's the difference?

In the New Testament (and probably today), mercy is used to mean pity and compassion.

In the Old Testament, however, it is used to mean kindness, loving kindness, to show kindness. It is usually from a word that literally means "bowels" which is supposed to refer to the sympathetic region.

So how does this get translated as love? I think it comes down to the difference between pity and loving kindness.

The definition of pity is:
1. sympathetic or kindly sorrow evoked by the suffering, distress, or misfortune of another, often leading one to give relief or aid or to show mercy: to feel pity for a starving child.

The definition of mercy (loving kindness) is:
1. compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence: Have mercy on the poor sinner.

2. the disposition to be compassionate or forbearing: an adversary wholly without mercy.

3. the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, esp. to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.

4. an act of kindness, compassion, or favor: She has performed countless small mercies for her friends and neighbors.

5. something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing: It was just a mercy we had our seat belts on when it happened.

Number one and three really jumped out at me! We are a people in desperate need of God's mercy! If that wasn't good enough, the psalmist has used the word endures. This is critical to the verse, you see we are constantly sinning and testing God's mercies. So when does His mercy end? NEVER! Praise God, NEVER!

Yes, I will give thanks to my God and King, because His mercy endures FOREVER!


Chatty Kelly said...

At VBS last year, we sang this song and used the word "love" instead of "mercy" ("His love endures forever.")

I had never thought of the word endure and what it means. It is so true - even through all we put God through, his love endures.

Great post.

The Patterson 5 said...

I am singing "His love endures forever" (that's the way I've heard it sung too!) I am so thankful that our God loves and gives mercy unconditionally and limitlessly! Thanks for the lift!

Debra said...

This was very good. Thanks be to God, we have been let out of the prison, by His mercy.

My ADHD Me said...

Thanks for a post that reminds me how blessed we are. Having God's mercy is great but knowing it that's awesome!

Starr said...

That scripture is my screen saver. It is one of my favorites. What a comforting thought that his love is "forever". That is a really long time!! Certainly something we can count on no matter what.

Pinkshoelady said...

Thank you for this post!
It has touched me deeply today.


I needed that reminder!

Pamela R.