Judges 6:7, 8, 11, 34
And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried to the LORD because of the Midianites,…
The cry of distress is heard instantly by Jehovah, and the answer begins to come at once. But only as is best for the sinning nation. As there was discipline-in the misery to which Israel was reduced, so there is still discipline in the succession and several instalments of the mercy of God. The aim is not merely nor so much to deliver from the material evil to which they were subject, but to root out the unbelief and develop the spiritual life and moral heroism of the people.
I. THE IMMEDIACY OF GOD'S MERCY. "It came to pass, when the children of Israel cried .... that the Lord sent a prophet. There appears to be no interval. God begins to readjust his relations with Israel at once. But the material boon is not granted then. The sting must rankle until true repentance is forthcoming. Deliverance would have been a very questionable blessing under the circumstances. Freedom and independence are responsibilities as well as birthrights. So God hears the cry of the sinner always. Not what we wish, but what we want," that in the end what we wish may be rendered spiritually advisable and blessed. The measure of comfort here was that God was not silent, prayer was not unavailing. There is hope in the opening of mercy's door, even though it be in reproof.
II. THE SUCCESSIONS OF GOD'S MERCY. First the cry of desperation and repentance, then the outward reproof, then the direction, encouragement, and training of a deliverer, then the recovery of national freedom, prosperity, and prestige. Flowerlike. So God adapts his blessings to the moral and spiritual capacity of his people. The Divine view of our misery and its requirements is the reverse of the human; we think of the material suffering, God of the moral defect and sin. These mercies as they come in train are manifestly education, that the work of grace may be effectual. "Grace for grace" is a law of his kingdom. And the dignity of God is never lost.
III. MERCY IN ITS CULMINATION. God did not stop short of ultimate deliverance, although it was not achieved at once. So "he crowneth us with his loving-kindness and tender mercy." It is no mere secular and vulgar deliverance. It is national re-creation. The chivalry of Israel is called forth. It is even more a religious than a military triumph. So the salvation of the soul has its splendours and glories. It is absolute, complete, and magnificent, crowning the life of the faithful. "An abundant entrance will be ministered" into the kingdom of his Son. "We are more than conquerors" through him. - M.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites,