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I Heard the Voice of Mercy

A Call to the Nation / Carter Conlon
The Truth Network Radio
January 10, 2021 12:01 am

I Heard the Voice of Mercy

A Call to the Nation / Carter Conlon

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January 10, 2021 12:01 am

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This is the most religious nation on the face of the earth at this time. God is speaking and nobody can hear Him.

Nobody. Not one person in the nation can hear this mercy moment that God has in His heart decided to give to the nation if He can find one person who will agree with Him. Thank you for being with us for A Call to the Nation with Carter Conlon. Today's message begins in Ezekiel chapter 22 verse 23. In great detail, this passage describes a nation that deserves punishment. But instead of God saying, step aside, I'm going to judge this nation, God offers mercy. But unbelievably, the Lord found no one to hear His quiet voice. As Carter will explain, it's God's heart's desire to show mercy to His creation.

Let's join Carter right now. I heard the voice of mercy. I want to start with Ezekiel chapter 22. If you do have a Bible or if you have a device that you can get the Scriptures in. Ezekiel chapter 22. Now beginning of verse 23, God is about to speak to the prophet Ezekiel about the state of the nation. Now the state of the nation in Ezekiel's day was that really it was corrupt from top to bottom and it was deserving of the judgment of God.

There was little or no doubt left about that. Beginning in verse 23 of Ezekiel chapter 22. And the word of the Lord came to me saying, Son of man, say to her, you are a land that is not cleansed or rained on in the day of indignation. The conspiracy of her prophets in the midst of her is like a roaring lion tearing the prey. They have devoured people.

They have taken treasure and precious things. They have made many widows in her midst. So those that were supposed to be calling the nation back to God were really using their ministry and their positions for themselves. And they were not drawing the people into a living relationship with God.

They were actually making them alienated or as he said, widows in the midst of the nation. Her priests, verse 26, have violated my law and profaned my holy things. They've not distinguished between the holy and the unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean.

And they've hidden their eyes from my Sabbaths so that I am profaned among them. Her princes in the midst are like wolves tearing the prey to shed blood, to destroy people and to get dishonest gain. So now you have a corrupt prophetic ministry, a corrupt priesthood. Now you have corrupt leadership in many stratas of that society. And they are ripping people apart instead of bringing them together.

They're causing the shedding of blood. They're destroying people. And they have their hand in the money jar. In many cases, you know, it's hidden from the people, but God saw it. Now, in verse 28, he said, her prophets plastered them with untempered martyr, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, Thus saith the Lord, when the Lord has not spoken. So you have a ministry as well that is enforcing or enabling this behavior at all levels by just, in a sense, giving it the tacit approval of God, even though God is not approving of this behavior. The people now of the land, verse 29, have used oppressions, committed robbery. Think about our generation when alluding seems to be the order of the day and the oppressions of one group against another seems to be in the surface, or at least always under the surface of our society. They've mistreated the poor and the needy, and they wrongfully oppress the stranger. In other words, there's no compassion anymore for the needs of others.

Everyone's in it for themselves. And, you know, you look at it, you say, this is a nation now deserving of judgment. And I have no doubt there's a lot of scripture that would confirm that judgment is the course that the nation is on. And so God has taken all the time to show this to the prophet Ezekiel.

The next thing should be step aside, I'm going to judge the nation. But something very unique comes out of the heart of God in verse 30. There's what he says, So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall and stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land that I should not destroy it.

But I found no one. Can you imagine that? Like, there are so many voices, I'm sure, at this moment in history that are speaking and on the behalf of God, and some of them, no doubt, are calling for judgment. Some of them would be honest enough to search the scriptures, would say, God can't let this continue. He can't let this, this absolute debauchery that's going on in this profaning of his name in the earth continue. These are supposed to be the people of God. He had a covenant relationship with these people.

And now what they're doing is bringing his own name into such reproach that surely he's going to judge these people. And I'm sure there were prophetic voices probably speaking these things. But there was one voice speaking something else. It was the voice of God.

And it's amazing. It was a voice that was calling for mercy. But I want you to hear me on this, because nobody could hear this voice. It was like the small still voice that came to Elijah in that time when he was suffering from depression because of what was going on in the nation. And it was a voice that nobody could hear.

Could you imagine? This is the most religious nation on the face of the earth at this time. God is speaking, and nobody can hear him.

Nobody. Not one person in the nation can hear this mercy moment that God has in his heart decided to give to the nation if he can find one person who will agree with him. I want you to think on that for a moment. It's amazing because there's this voice that's crying mercy and nobody can seemingly hear it. You see, the heart of the law, the Scripture tells us clearly, the heart of the law is mercy. The heart of all the law that was introduced in the Old Testament is to bring us to the point where we understand that we need the mercy of God, but a secondary and even more important understanding that God's heart's desire is to show mercy to his creation. In Exodus chapter 32, we see something of the heart of God that is absolutely profound when you begin to consider it. Now this is Exodus 32 beginning at verse 7. Now Moses has been leading the people out of Egypt into what's supposed to be the Promised Land. They've been murmuring, they've been complaining, and they've actually stripped off their clothes, they've gotten into immoral behavior, they've built a calf and called this calf their god, and here's what the Lord says to Moses in chapter 32 of Exodus verse 7. And the Lord said to Moses, Go, get down, for your people who you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves.

They've turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They've made themselves a molded calf and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, This is your God, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt. And the Lord said to Moses, I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them, and I may consume them, and I will make of you a great nation. Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God.

So this is the incredible thing. These people have corrupted themselves, the Lord says, I've come down, I've had it with them, I'm finished with them, I'm going to destroy them, and I'm going to make out of you a great nation. Now God says something really interesting, and you have to see this because this conveys the heart of God, and it can affect the way we see God in our generation. He says three words to Moses, Now let me alone.

Now in that very statement is the inference from God himself that my heart can be turned by the intercession of even one man. If I have, Moses was considered a friend of God, and God, you have to catch this, this is why I'm going to labor this point a little bit. God says I'm going, this is what the people are, this is what I'm going to do, this is God.

He makes an absolutely correct statement, it makes a definitive plan on his go forward strategy. Then he says to Moses, Now let me alone, and let me do this. And Moses, he starts to speak, he starts to plead with God, and he says, Don't be angry with your people that you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand.

Why should it be said of you, why should the Egyptians speak and say he brought them out to harm them, or killed them in the mountains or consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from your fierce wrath and relent from this harm to your people. Moses says, Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and you said to them, I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I've spoken of, give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever. And verse 14 is the most amazing verse in the Old Testament, one of the most amazing. It says, So the Lord relented from the harm he said he would do to his people. It really means that God just changed his mind. God was persuaded, amazing, that one man, one man can stand in the gap and turn the heart of God away from destroying a whole nation.

This is what the Lord was again looking for through the prophet Ezekiel. He was looking for somebody to stand because he works in conjunction with his creation. He works in conjunction with his people. He works in conjunction with our prayers.

I don't fully understand that, and probably neither do you. He's God. He could act outside of us. He doesn't need us to do anything. He's God. He's entirely complete in himself. But for whatever reason, he chose to, in a sense, intersect his lives with ours and the working of his hand with our faith and with our prayers.

Isn't that amazing? And yet here he is again in Ezekiel's day saying, I'm looking now for somebody to stand in the gap that I should not have to judge the nation. Mercy is in the center of the heart of God. That's why the scripture says God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. You remember the prophet Jonah? It's rather a humorous story, but Jonah ran from God, ended up in a storm, goes to this wicked, wicked city called Nineveh, who are known for their violence and their cruelty and their godlessness.

And he obeys God. And for three days, he travels through the city and says, repent, not repent. He said, judgment's coming. In 40 days, it's all over. You're all going to burn.

You're all going to die. And then he sits on a hill and waits for the judgment and it doesn't come and he gets angry and he said to the Lord, isn't this what I told you would happen? I told you before I went on the journey that I would come and proclaim this message and the people's hearts would turn and I know you. He said, I know what you're like. This is what Jonah said. I know what you're like. When people ask for forgiveness, even though you pronounce judgment, you draw back and you show your willingness to forgive because the heart of God is mercy.

Incredible. It's strange sometimes how we can so cry out for mercy for ourselves and so readily pronounce judgment on others. That's one of the frailties of the human heart. We'll go home and we'll say, Lord, forgive me for this and forgive me for that and be kind to me for this and be patient with me here. And then we'll go out in the streets and just demand judgment on all of our enemies.

It's the peculiarity, I guess, of the human heart. I began to hear the voice of God calling for mercy in August of 2019. Pastor Theresa Conlon, my wife and myself, were coming home from our vacation in eastern Canada. She had been reading a book called The Mayflower and she asked me, she said, can we stop in Plymouth, Massachusetts?

And I'd like to see this stone called Plymouth Stone, which is purported to be the place where the pilgrims who landed in 1620 first set their foot in America. And from that little group of people, God birthed a nation. They had a promise that they were being taken to a place where men and women could worship according to conscience and according to the word of God.

Without constraints and without being dictated to from the top down, as was the case in the place where they were originally fleeing from. And I said, Lord, why did you take me to that house? I didn't even know it existed. I didn't really know the history that was here, but you've obviously led me to that house and my wife. And was there a purpose in it? And as soon as I prayed that prayer, this is what the Lord began to speak to me. Now in 2 Chronicles chapter six, Solomon was dedicating the temple in Israel. Now the temple represented God's presence, represented his purpose for the people of God, his willingness to walk among the people, his willingness to make that particular group of people a praise in the earth to his name.

That was the purpose in the sense of Israel and of God dwelling in the midst of his people. And Solomon was dedicating this temple, remember the temple where his glory came, the temple where his presence actually dwelt among his people. And as Solomon is dedicating the temple, he makes this incredible plea to God, among other things when he's praying.

He talks about the people in the future. He said, when they sin against you, for there's no one who does not sin, and you become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to a land far or near. Yet when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive and repent and make supplication, it means they begin to pray towards you in the land of their captivity, whether they're held captive in a near place to this temple or a far place from this temple.

And say, we have sinned, we've done wrong and we've committed wickedness. And when they return to you with all their heart and all their soul in the land of their captivity, where they've been carried captive, and pray towards this land which you gave to their fathers and the city which you've chosen, and toward the temple which I built for your name, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place their prayer and their supplications and maintain their cause, and forgive your people who have sinned against you. And Solomon says, now my God, I pray let your eyes be open and your ears attentive, or listening to the prayer that is made in this place. Now in the very next chapter, now Solomon finishes dedicating the temple, Solomon goes home, he's obviously in bed, it's in the middle of the night, and the scripture says, Then the Lord, in chapter 7 verse 12, it says, The Lord appeared to Solomon by night and said to him, I have heard your prayer, and I've chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin and heal their land. Then he goes on to say something powerful, he says, Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive, or listening to prayer made in this place. For now I've chosen and sanctified this house, and my name will be there forever, and my eyes and my heart will be there perpetually.

In other words, the Lord was saying to Solomon, If you stray, come back to the place where it all started. Come back to the place where you once prayed. Come back with humility. Come back with repentance.

Come back with a willingness to admit to your failing, and your folly, and your fault. And my heart will still be there. My heart in a sense that moved and gave you a nation. Took you from 400 square feet to over 3 million something square miles. Took you from being 51 initiated weak half starved people to a nation of 330 million people. Took you from a place of being without resource to where the resource that I gave to you became the virtual envy of the known world. I took you in your weakness, and in your weakness I became strong, and I was glorified. The Lord is saying in measure, I fulfilled my word to you. I did what I said I would do.

I answered your prayer. But as Solomon once prayed, you strayed. You strayed far away, and were taken captive, and now the pestilence is among you.

Now there's rising up in your cities. Now you see that the foundations of what I gave you is beginning to crumble. The windows are broken.

The roof is leaking. But I'm willing, I'm willing to be merciful. It's that small still voice of God again. In the midst of all the calamity, all the shouting, all the voices, all the opinions. With or without scripture, it's the voice of God.

That so few can hear. It's the small still voice that says I'm still willing to show you mercy. I want you to come back to the house where it all began. I want you to fall on your knees in the 20 by 20 square foot room where 400 years ago I answered the prayer of 51 people who gave their all for you so you could be free. So you could worship in freedom. So you could worship according to conscience, which you and I both know is in jeopardy now in our generation. But the Lord says I'm asking you to come back because I have a mercy moment for you. And he spoke to my heart and said I want you to confess the sins of the nation.

I want you to start at the beginning and go right through to the present day. And he said I want you to call them by their real names. Don't be generic.

Call them by their names. And then after you've done that, have different people from different persuasions, backgrounds and cultures. Ask me for a mercy moment for our schools, our children, our families, our homes, our cities. Ask for reconciliation and healing between races, these old wounds that have never been healed in the nation. Ask me to do what only I can do. And it's been amazing how quickly this has caught fire in the hearts of people recognizing that the Lord's about to do something, to show mercy one more time.

Give us a mercy moment for America. Do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Bring the healing to us that we can't procure it by any amount of things that we've tried or probably will try. We can do little bits of good but we can't bring the full healing.

Only you can. Give us a go forward strategy for this culture. Save our families. Deliver our children. My God, we're asking you to do what only you can do.

Bring back our moral compass as a nation which is so strayed from what you tell us we're to be and how we're to live and how our lives are to be lived so that they bring glory to you. I hear something. I hear a voice of mercy.

I hear this moment in the heart of God where He says, You deserve to be judged. Now leave me alone. But the leave me alone implies, is there anybody out there who's still willing to believe that I can show mercy? Is there anybody out there who can still hear my heart? Is there anybody out there that still knows I'm God? Is there anybody who remembers that I took you from nothing and made you a great nation and I can do it again? If you will admit that you've sinned against me, if you will admit that without me you can't go forward, if you will call out to me again, I will be your God and you will be my people.

And also for those that are listening, maybe you're not part of the kingdom of God. Maybe you feel like your life has fallen so far short of what it should be. You feel so hopeless and down and you're no worse off than those pilgrims were 400 years ago. They were almost dead. They were filled with sorrow. Everyone in the room had lost family and friends or spouse or child. They were in a terrible condition.

There was no going back and there was no going forward. And in their poverty and in their weakness, they turned to God and they found a mercy that birthed a great nation. And if today you will turn to God in your poverty, if you will turn to God and simply just admit that you're a sinner, don't try to hide it and don't make excuses for it. Call it what it is. Sin means you're living in a way that is not the way that God has prescribed your life should be lived. You're doing things that God said you shouldn't do and you are not what God says you should be. That's simply called sin. Admit you're a sinner. Admit you've failed.

Admit that your life has, you've not lived the way that you should. And believe that God in his mercy sent his son Jesus Christ to die on a cross so that you don't have to die and be separated from God for eternity. That's mercy. That was the mercy call of God. When the son of God on the cross cried out, Father, forgive them, that's what he meant. Forgive them. That's why he came. That was the cry in the heart of God. To forgive even those who had just driven the nails through his hands and feet and mocked him and spit on him and slapped him and put a crown of thorns in his head. You know, you'd think that God, wouldn't God judge a people like that? Failing to understand that it's mercy is at the center core of God.

It's who he is. John the beloved said in one of his epistles, if you don't love, you don't know God, for God is love. God is love. There's no other way to describe love but by calling it God and God love.

That typifies it. So what does he require of me? You say, well, you admit that you're a sinner. You believe that Christ died in your place.

And don't make it complicated. Just simply confess with your mouth that he's your Lord and Savior and say, God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for dying for me.

Thank you for paying the price for my wrong. Thank you for making a way by sacrificing your life that my life doesn't have to be lost forever. That I can become a child of God, that I can be forgiven. And in my weakness, I can be brought into strength and my dirtiness can be cleansed and my distance from God can be bridged by that sacrifice of Christ. And then my life can become, as the pilgrims once did, everything that God destined it to be. The Bible says you'll become a new creation.

The old things will pass away and all things will become new. And who can debate but that God answered that prayer for the pilgrims 400 years ago. And he will answer your prayer today. If you want to be a believer in Christ, if you want to be forgiven, if you want to know that heaven can be your home when you die, then I'm going to ask you right now, right now, pray this prayer with me. Lord Jesus Christ, I hear your voice, a voice of mercy, calling me back home to you. I believe in my heart. I believe that you died for me so that I can live with you forever. And today, right now, I confess you as my Lord and my Savior.

In Jesus' name. The message today has been brought to you by Carter Conlon from Times Square Church. For more information, log on to tsc.nyc. That's tsc.nyc. Plan to be with us next week for A Call to the Nation with Carter Conlon.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-06 13:01:39 / 2024-01-06 13:11:35 / 10

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