God’s Number One Characteristic
By Rick Warren
“The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:6b NKJV).
God’s number one characteristic in the Bible isn’t his sovereignty, omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, anger, or justice.
It’s his mercy.
The world wants us to portray God as someone who is completely focused upon judgment. But God describes himself first and foremost as a God of mercy.
When God revealed his glory to Moses, he said, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:6b NKJV).
Mercy is the first characteristic God uses to define himself in the Bible. It must be the most important.
Quite simply, mercy is love in action. It has two distinct parts. Webster’s Dictionary defines mercy two ways, as “refraining from harm or punishment” and as “unexpected kindness.” God wants us to do both. The forgiving side is refraining from punishment. And the compassionate side is going the extra mile to help somebody with unexpected kindness. We need to demonstrate both.
It’s more than just an attitude. It’s a lifestyle.
Talk It Over
- Why do you think the world tends to describe God using characteristics other than mercy (his justice, his power, etc.)?
- If God’s number one characteristic is mercy, how does that impact our understanding of how God wants us to live and the people God wants us to become?
- Do you find it easier to demonstrate the forgiving side or the compassionate side of mercy? Why?
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Experience more mercy in your life!
There’s a reason God talks about mercy so much in the Bible – because it’s one of the most important character traits He wants to develop in us!
That’s why Pastor Rick Warren put together his brand-new The Miracle of Mercy DVD study kit.
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May it help you see what mercy really looks like – and experience more of it in your life!
This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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