“But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.”
I can certainly understand Moses’ desire for God to be merciful to forgive His judgment so that he could enter into the Promised Land. Moses said that God had just “begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand.” Moses wanted to see God continue His mighty works and deliver the children of Israel from their enemies as they entered the Promised Land. However, he had one nagging problem; God said that he could not enter the Promised Land because he smote the rock instead of speaking to it.
Moses asked God again in verse 25, “I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.” But, God chose not listen to the prayer of Moses. Instead, God told Moses, “Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.” Moses found himself in a precarious situation that if he didn’t respond right to God’s answer, he easily could have become bitter. What God was telling Moses was that he needed to become content with judgment. He needed to understand that God’s mercy had run out in this situation. Many believers who come to the same crossroads that Moses found himself facing must respond the same way he did or they will become bitter. Let me give you some advice concerning what you should do when God chooses not to be merciful.
First, realize that God has every right not to be merciful. In other words, you are guilty of what you have done. Just because God chose to be merciful in the past doesn’t require Him to be merciful towards you in the present. Past mercy is not a guarantee that God will be merciful to you today. To those who would criticize this statement, tell Moses that God will always be merciful. Genesis 6:3 says, “…My spirit shall not always strive with man…” There will come a point when God will no longer be merciful. The reason you should always do right is because God may choose not to be merciful the next time you mess up in sin.
Second, trust God’s decision when He chooses not to give mercy. Just like you are to trust God when you don’t know what to do, you need to trust Him when He chooses not to be merciful to you. If the only time you trust God is when you agree with His decisions and treatment of you, you will find yourself becoming bitter when He chooses not to do what you want Him to do. If God chooses not to be merciful, you are going to have to be okay with His decision. If you want to avoid bitterness, you must be content with God’s decisions even when you don’t agree with them.
Third, God is still good when He chooses not to be merciful. God’s goodness is not dependent upon how you perceive He treats you, but His goodness is dependent upon His holy character. If God is good when He chooses to be merciful, He is still good when He chooses not to be merciful. If you can say that God is good when He chooses not to show mercy, you take out one piece of Satan’s arsenal to destroy you.
Let me ask you; are you okay with God when He chooses not to be merciful? Are you content with God’s judgment? If you accept that you deserve His judgment in the first place, you will find it much easier to accept those times when He chooses not to give you His mercy.