“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.” (Micah 7:18-20)
The lengthy passage above is quoted in its entirety because, coming as it does at the end of Micah’s dual prophecy of imminent judgment of the sinful, rebellious nation of Judah and of the coming glorious reign of the Lord, it sums up the work of God’s grace in dealing with iniquity. Each of the three verses quoted describe a part. Such grace:
Pardons iniquity (v. 18). As sinners, we have the assurance of mercy instead of judgment. God pardons our iniquity, passes by our transgressions, and retains not His anger. Why? “Because he delighteth in mercy.”
Subdues iniquity (v. 19). As forgiven sinners who have tasted of His grace and mercy, we have assurance of deliverance in time of temptation. Why? Because “he will have compassion upon us.”
Performs what it promises (v. 20). When circumstances surround and difficulties discourage, we have confidence in the inheritance of covenant promise, just as Jacob and Abraham did. Why? Because “thou hast sworn,” and God’s own reputation is at stake.
Israel refused to respond to the warnings of the prophets to turn from their sinful ways. In doing so, they missed God’s great blessing and reaped His wrath. May God grant us the wisdom and conviction to accept His mercy and compassion and to believe He is still trustworthy regarding His promises. JDM