Over the past week, each day as I would approach the Lord in prayer I would hear an invitation to come deep into God’s heart on the issue of covenant, judgment, and mercy.
As I would accept the invitation the Spirit would always begin by asking me to thank God for his faithful judgments. In faith and obedience, I would begin to just say, “Father, all of your judgments are faithful, right, and true. Your love is fully found unwavering within your judgments.”
As I would pray and declare these things I would be ushered into deeper and deeper revelations of his covenant with mankind, with Israel, and with nations. His covenant is always based on absolute love, truth, righteousness, his character, and perfect ways. When covenant is violated or broken by man (for God NEVER breaks covenant) there are repercussions— for God disciplines those that he loves just as a parent does the child that he so deeply loves (for there is no love found in parental passivity or the enabling of rebellion.)
If there is no repercussion (when covenant is broken) then truly there was never any covenant and there was not agape love. Just as marriage is an earthly representation of the covenant between God and his people— we see that the marriage covenant binds two people as one flesh in a holy agreement that promises faithfulness, commitment, selflessness and love no matter what they are facing— until death parts them. If one of those two violates that covenant (or promise) it deeply affects both and negative repercussions inevitably ensues.
Each day I was taken into the heart of the Lord as he entered into covenant with his people and I saw a glimpse of the love and longing that he carried and that has not lessened to this day. It was so deep and weighty that I could barely touch it without feeling that I could not survive the revelation of his love and how lightly we have treated his heart within these covenants.
I saw again and again how we have broken covenant and broken his heart— the heart that merely wanted to give us a faithfulness that would bless us in ways that we could never comprehend. And yet, we would still turn to other lovers, other gods, and other ways that violated his love and truths. We always think our way is better.
Then he would usher me into the judgments (repercussions) that came from the broken and violated covenant. Within them his promise, love, and faithfulness were as strong, pure, passionate, and true as the moment he entered into these covenants with man— to the point that he would provide his only Son to die to redeem what had been lost. And yet, still— mankind goes their own way but his faithfulness remains relentless.
After four days of experiencing this, I was so undone by his faithfulness, even within his judgments, that I’d weep at the mere thought of it. On the fifth day, I suddenly and clearly heard the Spirit day,
“Now you can ask for mercy to triumph over judgment.”
Immediately I understood (by the Spirit) how we so often ask for mercy not truly understanding that we don’t comprehend the full weight of his faithful judgments— judgments that give him NO pleasure but are immersed in his love. Mercy is reserved for the guilty, not the innocent (that is justice). I believe that we have missed this point often when we pray. We have not fully comprehended the heartbreak of God regarding broken covenant. He is like a husband whose wife has forsaken him and given herself to another or like a father whose beautiful daughter has prostituted herself. Judgment comes merely as an act of faithfulness to bring her back to her senses.
We often cry out for mercy but believe in our hearts that we are deserving of justice. We don’t see the fullness of the betrayal and brokenness that sin and waywardness have brought to the heart of God.
We need to cry out in brokenness and humility for mercy knowing that true justice would render judgment and yet in God’s faithfulness and compassion he desires to give mercy. We need true repentance— which often is found within the revelation of his faithfulness, even his faithful judgments.
I can only pray that by his Spirit you are able to understand this and that what I have been experiencing will be imparted to you so that together we are made ready to corporately cry out for mercy and truly know that it is MERCY that we are in need of…because we have all fallen short of keeping covenant.
Again, justice is reserved for the innocent and mercy for the guilty. Justice is for those who are undeserving of judgment and mercy for those who deserve judgment. In both cases, the absolute faithful love of God is perfectly and rightly executed. And in both cases, His heart is laid bare in broken compassion for the ones that he created and gave his Son to die for.
Let’s ask for a revelation of his faithful judgments and declare them as such. Then, as our hearts are broken for the things that break his heart, we can bow low and cry out for mercy. He loves to give us what we do not deserve. He waits, like the father in the story of the prodigal son, for our return— for the return of his son or daughter— or nation. We must return to the bond of his faithfulness and become faithful.
“I have heard all about you, LORD. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by. And in your anger (wrath), remember your mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2
Now that we are in Christ we have been justified and made innocent to cry out for justice and yet we must understand that our nations often have not come to Christ- therefore we must cry out for mercy while understanding the righteousness of his judgments.
Sidenote: I often hear how the American church did all that they could do in 2020 to bring forth a victory (and I was part of that those who brought continuous offerings) but I think we need to know that the reality is the Jesus is the only one who could (and did) do ALL that needs to be done. Was it pleasing to him…yes! But we must not boast in what we have done but in what he did alone. We offered what he deserved whether we see judgments or mercy. May we always bring that kind of offering- not merely to receive a result but because he is worthy to receive it all.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Inscribe Ministries