The Mercies of God

Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious.
Philippians 2:27-28

“But God had mercy on him”. Could there be any more powerful and life changing words? This is the story of the gospel throughout scripture. We see it in the garden, when God clothes Adam and Eve, providing for them, instead of destroying them. We see it in the stunning forbearance toward Noah when God determined to blot out all that he had created, “but Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”(Genesis 6:8)”
David describes God’s character this way, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”(Psalm 103:8) And Paul describes God as rich in mercy, extending grace through the sacrifice of Jesus because of his great love for us.(Ephesians 2:4)

Here in Philippians, Paul is praising God’s mercy not only for Epaphroditus’s rescue from death, but also for his own encouragement and rescue from mounting sorrows. This celebration of mercy and restoration will give the Philippians joy at Epaphroditus’s coming, in addition to hearing from Paul.
This is a great example of seeing the variety of ways that God extends mercy. He can extend it with healing, with concern for the spiritual and mental health, as well as the encouragement for a church under stress. We are surrounded by the mercies of God and one of the aspects of praise is to point them out to one another. How many will we find and celebrate this week? This is a path to great joy.

Merciful God,
You are steadfast in your love and because of this love, you extend mercy to us. You forgive our sins,  rescue us from wayward purposeless lives, and  give us new life in Jesus. We praise you for these good gifts and ask you to open our eyes to see all the mercies you extend to us so that we might praise Jesus who with the Father and Holy Spirit, one God provide all that is necessary for life and godliness. Amen

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