For His Mercy Endureth Forever

by Dr. Jack Hyles (1926-2001)

(Chapter 11 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, From Vapor to Floods)

        Twenty-six times in Psalm 136 we find these beautiful words, "For His mercy endureth forever." Eleven other times in the Bible we find the same words. One of the most comprehensive statements regarding the nature of God in all the Bible is this: "For His mercy endureth forever."

        "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Psalm 23:6. The thought of the mercy of the Lord just overcame me this past week. The fact that the Lord's mercy endures forever, means that nothing can stop His mercy. I woke up Tuesday morning praising the Lord for His mercy. I took the concordance and began looking up the places where I could find the word "mercy."

        Are you deep in sin? His mercy goes deeper than your sin. Are you away from God? Are you living a life that is not counting? His mercy goes beyond that. No matter how deep you have fallen , His mercy is sufficient. It does not matter how far you have strayed; His mercy goes just a little farther.

        When a Jew met someone on the street, he would say, "Peace" or "Shalom." They still do it in Palestine. Paul wrote and said, "Grace and peace." Why? No one has peace until he has grace. I Corinthians begins with "Grace and peace be unto you." So does II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and both books to the Thessalonians. I Timothy says, "Grace, mercy and peace be unto you." I laughed and said, "Lord, I think I know why You said mercy. Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians were written to churches, but Timothy was written to a preacher. A preacher needs more mercy than anybody else in the whole world!" In II Timothy again Paul said, "Grace, mercy and peace be unto you." In Titus he said, "Grace, mercy and peace be unto you." When God wrote to a preacher, He thought, "A preacher has more burdens and more heartaches than anybody else." The Lord said to the church at Galatia, "Grace, mercy and peace," but when He got to Timothy, He said, "Grace, mercy and peace be unto you." When the Lord wrote the epistles to an individual, He included mercy. Why? Individuals need mercy. You need mercy this morning. There is not a one of us here that does not need the mercy of God. None of us deserves to go to Heaven. None of us deserves the blessing of God. So God gives us mercy.

        "The Lord's mercies ... are new every morning." Lamentations 3:22, 23. Why does the Lord say He is merciful in the morning? It looks to me as though He would have said, "Thy mercies are new every evening." After all, during the day after our meanness has been done, we need mercy. We need mercy after we have grown impatient and lost our temper a few times. Most of us need mercy at the end of the day when it is time to go to bed and we look up to Him and say, "Lord, I did not mean to do what I did today. I meant to do better. Lord, forgive me." He would forgive us and then we could say, "His mercies are new every evening." Why did God say "every morning"? We are mean while we are sleeping! That is why we need mercy each morning!
        I preached in Texas the other day near a church I once pastored. In that church I had what Dr. John R. Rice calls a "long-horned deacon." I drove past this church where I had pastored. For 18 or 19 years I had not had one evil thought in my heart against that deacon. I drove down the street in front of the church and went past the deacon's place and thought, "That place belongs to that old long-horned deacon." I asked if he were still living. They said, "Yes, he's still alive." He is now in his eighties.

        I thought, "I am glad my heart is clean about that fellow. I do not hold any bitterness." That night I dreamed I punched him in the nose! When I woke up, I was glad I did it. Even while we are asleep, we need God's mercy! We are sinners morning and evening; therefore, the Word says, "Thy mercies are new every morning."

        The Psalmist said in Psalm 19, "Cleanse thou me from secret faults." "Secret faults"-are those the faults that other people do not know about? This verse is talking about my faults that I do not even know about. The Psalmist said, "Lord, forgive my sins," but more than that, "Cleanse the sins of which I am not aware, those unholy motives I have, those tainted purposes, the things I should not do, and the things I leave undone that I should do." That is why I think Jeremiah, the writer of Lamentations, said, "The Lord's mercies...are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness."

        I got to thinking about the events in the Bible where "His mercy endureth forever." In II Chronicles 5:13 Solomon has finished building the temple. It is time to dedicate the temple, the ark of the covenant is brought in, singers begin to sing, instruments begin to play, the king stands to pray the dedicatory prayer and he says, "His mercy endureth forever." God blessed them by giving the Shekinah glory in the Holy of Holies. It was so bright that the priests could not minister. They said, "His mercy endureth forever."

        I began to recall the years here at this church. How good God has been to us! Try to think of a service here in the church when God did not suddenly speak to someone in the choir, or when He did not give us an extra special blessing or there was not some special conversion or some special blessing that God gave us. I do not know of any church in the world where God has faithfully blessed any more than He has blessed us Sunday after Sunday, week after week, and blessing after blessing. Every one of us ought to stand up and say, "Blessed be God-His mercy endureth forever!"

        Somebody came to our services recently saying, "When we want a blessing, we come to First Baptist Church, Hammond. We know we will always get it." That is what I am saying! Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!

        In I Chronicles 16:41 we read, "His mercy endureth forever." The ark of the covenant had been removed from Israel; the Philistines had taken it to Gath and Ekron and Ashdod. For years the ark of covenant had been gone; and now the ark returns to Jerusalem. Do you remember David's happiness when the ark came back? David, King of Israel, danced around the ark. When his wife, Michal, looked down and saw her husband, she said, "It is a disgrace for a king to dance, making a fool of himself!" David shouted, "His mercy endureth forever."

       In Ezra 3:11 we find, "His mercy endureth forever." The temple was destroyed; the Israelites were led away in captivity to Babylon. The walls had been leveled, their homes had been destroyed and the temple had been desecrated. For 70 homesick, lonely years they lived away from their home. They sat down and wept by the river Chebar in Babylon. They would not play their harps and they would not sing the psalms of joy. One day God burdened Zerubbabel to return and rebuild the temple. God's people came from far and near and laid the foundation for the rebuilding of God's house. The people were happy. The Bible says the singers sang and they played the instruments. They shouted, "His mercy endureth forever."

        Stop and think how sinful you were, and the mercy of the Lord forgave you. Stop and think of the attitudes we have had this week. Remember the things we have done that we should not have done. We cannot forget the harsh words we said when we should have been quiet. We are guilty of envy, covetousness, jealousy and impatience; yet the dear Lord looks down from Heaven and "His mercy endureth forever."

        Psalm 106:1 tells us, "His mercy endureth forever." Psalm 107:1 tells us, "His mercy endureth forever." Psalms 118:1 tells us, "His mercy endureth forever." In these psalms David remembers as he does in Psalm 136, "The seas were parted, for His mercy endureth forever. Pharaoh's armies were drowned, for His mercy endureth forever. He fed us with manna from Heaven, for His mercy endureth forever. He gave us water from the rock, for His mercy endureth forever..." Over and over again, the Psalmist remembers the blessing of the past.

        Fourteen years ago today I didn't want to come to Hammond, Indiana. Once when I visited Chicago I said, "This is the last place in the world I would ever want to live." God has put me here and now it looks as if this is going to be the last place in the world I will ever live. I did not want to come to Chicago. We had battles. For a year it was hell. Yet God gave victories! Oh, the goodness of God! Think of our preacher boys that stand in pulpits around this country and around the world this morning, proclaiming the same mercy that we proclaim from this pulpit. Think of the churches that have been changed, their ministries transformed and preachers set aflame with the Gospel of Christ. Think of these 14 blessed years. Oh, we have had some heartaches. We had a fire that destroyed two buildings. We had to put out nurseries in the hallways of the Educational Building. We had to buy a furniture store and remodel it in one week. We had to live in all kinds of inconvenience for a long time, but His mercy endureth forever. People have called us "nuts," and folks have hated us.

        One man said, "I have to drive down Sibley Street to work, but I won't drive by your church."

        I asked, "Why?"

        He said, "Every time I see your church, I see my liquor and my dirty sins and the life I live. The very presence of that building is a sermon against me."

        I said, "Thank God, even our buildings speak out against unrighteousness and for decency."
        We have felt attacks and tried not to retaliate. That is one reason I think His mercy has been good. We have tried to love everybody. We have tried to be gracious and kind. No word has ever come from across the pulpit against any man of God, no matter what denomination. We have tried to stand for God's men and tried to call this country back to God. If any church in the whole world ought to say, "His mercy endureth forever," we ought to stand up and shout the blessed praises of God!

        As I read Psalm 106:1; 107:1; and 118:1, I jumped up and down and said, "Praise the Lord, His mercy endureth forever. God puts up with people like us. God uses people like us. God forgives people like us. God loves people like us. His mercy endureth forever!"

        Then again, you find in Jeremiah 33:11, "His mercy endureth forever." Jeremiah saw the coming kingdom. He saw the lion lying down with the lamb; he saw the little child leading a lion down the street. He saw the kingdom of righteousness and peace. Jeremiah said, "Praise the Lord! Look what He was in the future for me! His mercy endureth forever."

        Did you know God will be merciful to you as long as you live? When you young people get old, the mercy of the Lord will still endure. When you middle-aged people get toward the senior years, the mercy of the Lord will still endure. You dear people in your 70's and 80's and 90's, when most of life is over and you wonder about death and what it is like, the mercy of the Lord will still endure. The mercy of the Lord will be there when you go through the valley of the shadow and when somebody sits at your bedside, waiting for you to go Home to be with the Lord.

        The young lady sang this morning about how she wants to see her father. I though of her father, Bill Gifford, who helped us up in the baptismal room. He was a great man of God. When he was dying, I went to his bedside. He looked up at me and said, "Pastor, for me to live is Christ and to die is gain." Oh, when you come to the valley of the shadow, His mercy endureth forever. When cancer eats up the body-as it is this morning for some people-His mercy endureth forever. When you cross the chilly Jordan and go into the presence of our Lord, His mercy endureth forever. When we see Him, His mercy endureth forever. When we rise to meet Him in the air, His mercy endureth forever. When we come back to earth with Him, His mercy endureth forever. When we walk the streets of gold and go through gates of pearl, His mercy endureth forever. That means, no matter what happens, God's mercy is there and will always be there.

        In the future, God may allow squealing brakes, burning rubber on the pavement, crashing to steel, and bodies hurling into the culvert or on the shoulder of the road. It may be that God will allow you to lie there for awhile and you may wonder if you will die. It may be that God has a wheelchair for you. It may be that God is going to let you be deaf. It may be that you will never hear the voice of a whippoorwill again or the sweet music of the choir, but His mercy endureth forever! It may be that God will allow pressures to come in your life. You may fall to the bottom of society and one day stumble into a rescue mission like some of these men here, but His mercy endureth forever!

        You cannot get outside His mercy. You may go to the depth of the sea, but His mercy is there. You may go higher than man has ever gone, but His mercy is there. You may fly in space with the astronauts, but His mercy is there. You may stumble into a tavern and give up your life and your virtue, but His mercy is always there. Why? His mercy endureth forever! God's mercy goes beyond your deepest sin, and beyond your most lonely hour. His mercy endureth forever!

        Two men came to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other was a publican. The Pharisee said, "I am thankful I'm not as he is; I am a good man! I do not commit all the dirty sins he commits, and I do good things he does not do." The publican could not so much as lift up his eyes to God. He smote his breast and said, "God be merciful to me, a sinner." Listen to me. Are you here this morning in sin and don't know if you died, you would go to Heaven? His mercy endureth forever! This morning God would save any person in this room that would look up to God and say, "Oh God, I know I am a sinner, and I am sorry. Be merciful to me, a sinner." The mercy of God would cover every sin of your life. His mercy endureth forever!

        You say, "Are you sure?" Yes! Look at Ephesians 2:4, "God, Who is rich in mercy." His mercy reaches out to you this morning.

        Forty-four people came to my office for conferences from 3:30 Friday afternoon until 11:00 last night. So many of our folks have needs. What about the many people who did not come, but they also have needs? For everyone who came to my office, God's mercy endureth forever. For everyone who did not come to my office, His mercy endureth forever.

        There is a lady here this morning who wonders if life is worth living. Lady, His mercy endureth forever. There is a man here this morning with cancer eating up his body, and he wonders what the future holds. Sir, His mercy endureth forever. There is a young lady here this morning who deeply loves the man she married, but he has been unfaithful to her. Lady, His mercy endureth forever!

        The word "endure" means "nothing can stop it." It comes from a Greek word which means "to conquer." It means His mercy conquereth forever. Do you have heartaches? His mercy conquereth heartaches. Do you have sickness? His mercy conquereth sickness. Have you gone into sin? His mercy conquereth sin. His mercy conquereth forever. You can say with the song writer, Dr. Weigle:

                I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus,
                Since I found in Him a friend so strong and true.
                I would tell you how He changed my life completely;
                He did something that no other friend could do.
                No one ever cared for me like Jesus.

        In the Weigle Music Center at Tennessee Temple College, they built a little apartment for Dr. Weigle. He was nearly 100 years of age when the building was built in his honor. At the dedication I preached the message. After everybody had gone, I decided to go se Dr. Weigle. I went to his room and started to knock on the door, but I heard some noises. I leaned my ear against the door and I heard a voice say, "Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!" I just listened to him shout for awhile. Finally, I knocked on the door. He came to the door with the look of Heaven on his face. I said, "Dr. Weigle, what are you doing?"

        He clapped his hands and said, "Just practicing for Heaven!"

        We ought to practice for Heaven this morning and praise the Lord a little bit. Blessed be God! His mercy endureth forever!

        When you go home today and have a meal, shout the praise of God. Say, "His mercy endureth forever." Reach up and touch your eyes. If you can see, say, "Hallelujah! His mercy endureth forever!" If you can hear the sound of this beautiful music, say, "Praise the Lord! His mercy endureth forever." Just jump up and down and say, "Hallelujah! His mercy endureth forever." Say it with me: "His mercy endureth forever." Yes, it endures forever and ever and ever!

        When kingdoms have crumbles for the last time, His mercy endureth forever. When dictators have waged their wicked battles for the last time, His mercy endureth forever. When the stars have fallen like untimely figs from a tree shaken by the wind, His mercy endureth forever. When the sun refuses to shine and the moon has turned as black as sackcloth of hair, His mercy endureth forever. When people shall die no more and cemeteries shall not dot the horizon, His mercy endureth forever. When shoulders shall never stoop, nor brows wrinkle, nor faces become furrowed, His mercy endureth forever. When all of us awake in His likeness to live forever around His throne, His mercy endureth forever. Blessed be God! His mercy endureth forever!


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 “I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion, that has warmed this cold world's heart for two thousand years.” —Billy SUNDAY