Blog Home » About God » Holiness & Righteousness » Just Yet Merciful

Just Yet Merciful


In chapters one and two of Lamentations, the prophet Jeremiah laments the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. — “How the Lord has covered Daughter Zion with the cloud of his anger!” (Lam. 2:1) — Some may ask how a loving God could display such wrath. Consider that a righteous, holy God must also be a just God. Though the people knew the Lord was righteous, they still rebelled against Him (Lam. 1:18). But, the account doesn’t end there. As we read on in Lamentations, we discover a God who is just yet merciful.

Why a Righteous, Holy God Must be Also be a Just God

Scripture links the righteousness of God with His justice as can be seen in this small sampling of verses:

For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice. (Ps. 11:7)

And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice. (Ps. 50:6)

May he judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice. (Ps. 72:2)

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. (Ps. 89:14; 97:2)

Without a righteous standard “justice is perverted” (Hab. 1:4). Only a righteous God can truly be just. In themselves, people can’t claim to be righteous. We’re too driven by our selfish sin nature which leans toward doing what is right in our own eyes. We often don’t see the big picture and so we fail to always look at the end goal that we be holy as He is holy (1 Pet. 1:15). As a result, we may sometimes look at the justice of God and question His fairness. With a holy God, it’s not about being fair but righteous. His ways are so much higher than our ways (Ps. 36:6; Isa. 55:9) that it is difficult for us to always understand His ways.

God is Just Yet Merciful

As seen in the destruction of Jerusalem, sin has consequences. Don’t think for a moment, however, that God relishes in punishing people. In the third chapter of Lamentations we read, “He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone” (Lam. 3:33). His righteousness demands it. Yet, His great love and compassion extends mercy when we “return to the LORD” (Lam. 3:40).

Just Yet Merciful God - Mercies New Every Morning

Though Jeremiah lamented the destruction of Jerusalem (Lam. 1-2) and the effect on him personally (Lam. 3), He said, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:23-24)

God judged Israel for their sin but He did not totally consume them. As God, He would have been just in totally destroying them but He is also a merciful God. — “Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.” (Lam. 3:32)

God is righteous and therefore just. Sin must be atoned. The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). God, however, always makes a way so He remains just yet merciful. God’s justice would, through the Jewish lineage, be met on the cross wherein Jesus took the punishment we deserve. — “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” (Rom. 3:25-26)

We have a just God who is also merciful because He is the sum total of all His many attributes, all of the time, without fail. Reflect on His various traits using the Our Great God from A to Z Discipleship Tool Download which uses the alphabet to describe who God is.


2 Replies to “Just Yet Merciful”

    • Amen, Billie. Lamentations 3:22-23 points to a God whose great love never fails so there’s no end to the scope of that love. It also points to a God whose compassions never cease so there’s no end in terms of time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published but may be used to contact you of any responses to your comment. Spam, requests for free material, and promotional info will not be posted; nor will a response be forthcoming. Required fields are marked *