The title for this week’s blog is taken from Psalm 136. The New King James version translates this phrase, His mercy endures forever. Today is Sunday, January 16, 2022 and I find myself sitting in a small country motel room in Northwest Georgia in the middle of a winter storm warning. It also happens to be my 75th birthday.
When I think back over my life, I have to echo the Psalmist when he writes that God’s lovingkindness is everlasting. His mercy endures forever is found at the end of every one of the 25 verses in this beautiful Psalm. As I sit here and reflect back on 3/4 of a century, I am absolutely amazed at God’s wonderful mercy and lovingkindness.
As I started my day in His Word, I read about God’s lovingkindness and mercy as He led His people safely through the Red Sea and, then, destroyed their enemy that was in hot pursuit. Exodus 15 is Moses’ song of praise to the Lord after seeing God’s lovingkindness. Moses began his song by declaring the awesome power of God.
The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. Exodus 15:2 (NKJV)
When I think about how God has led me throughout my teen years and my adult life, I must declare the same thing that Moses did when He realized who God really was.
Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? You stretched out Your right hand; the earth swallowed them. You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation. Exodus 15:11-13 (NKJV)
I can say this about my life when I think of how God redeemed me from sin and brought me into His holy family. He has shown His wisdom and power as He has led me over the years. There have been so many wonderful examples of how He has blessed me beyond measure that I cannot count them.
When I continued reading about God’s lovingkindness for Israel, I was struck by how He provided for every one of their daily needs. He made bitter water sweet (Exodus 15), gave them manna for bread, meat when they complained and rest after six days of labor (Exodus 16), and gave them fresh water from the rock (Exodus 17). Once again, I have been blessed to experience every one of these blessings in my life.
After God did all these amazing things on behalf of Israel, one finds a wake up call to what it is like living in a fallen world.
Now Amalek came and fought with Israel… Exodus 17:8 (NKJV)
Of course, the record shows that God strengthened Joshua and he defeated the Amalekites. At the end of the battle, God made a very strong prophecy concerning Amalek.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” Exodus 17:14 (NKJV)
Even though Amalek’s days are numbered, God told Moses that He would have to battle Amalek throughout the rest of human history.
…the Lord has sworn: the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation. Exodus 17:16 (NKJV)
One finds the Amalekites being a thorn in the side of God’s people throughout the Scriptures. Saul lost his kingdom because he spared Agag, the king of the Amalekites. In fact, it was an Amalekite that killed Saul and took the crown off of his head and gave it to David (see 2 Samuel 1:1-16).
Amalek represents the flesh, our fallen human nature. In reflecting on my years, I have seen that I have had to battle the flesh each and every day since becoming a Christian. This has been especially true after experiencing many of God’s blessings. My flesh is constantly waring with my spirit for control. I am thankful that God’s indwelling Spirit strengthens me to win the battle with my flesh as long as I daily surrender to Him. I look forward to the day when Amalek, my flesh, is completely blotted out.
One final blessing came to my mind today as I thanked God for giving me these 75 years to know and serve Him. That blessing is in the form of the people God has brought into my life and continually uses to conform me into the image of His Son. Fifty-three years ago, God gave me my wonderful wife, Sharon. I don’t know how I could have made it through the daily grind of living for God without her at my side.
He also blessed me with three precious children and six grandchildren. The older one gets, the more he or she realizes the importance of family. As my children texted me birthday wishes today, I responded by telling them that God has blessed me beyond measure.
I am also grateful for the people who have helped me fall in love with God and His Word. Paul Kienel, Roy Lowrie, Jr, Gene Garrick, Tony Fortosis, and many more helped me develop a biblical philosophy of education that I have termed, Kingdom Education™.
Being blessed to sit under the teaching of such giants as John R. Rice, Francis Schaeffer, B.R. Lakin and Josh McDowell, to name a few, played a significant role in helping me understand the importance of thinking biblically about all of life. These men taught me that God’s Word is not only true but is applicable to my everyday life.
One of the greatest blessings that God has given me is the privilege of sitting under the preaching of godly pastors. Jerry Falwell, James Merritt, Glenn Weekley, Michael Catt, Mike Lewis and James McMenis are some of the pastors who have faithfully preached the whole counsel of God and shaped my life in significant ways.
Finally, there are thousands of believers, like you, that I have had the privilege to connect with over the years. It has been an unbelievable joy to have been able to talk with, teach and counsel faithful followers of Christ who are in the trenches each and every day.
I don’t know what the future holds but the one thing that I know is this.
God’s lovingkindness is everlasting. His mercy endures forever. Praise the Lord!