Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And all that is within me,   
bless His holy name.   
Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And forget none of His benefits.   
- Psalms 103:1-2   
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God's Merciful Or Afflicting Hand

God can afflict and show mercy at the same time. Fifth plague-- livestock Exodus 9:4—“and the Lord will make a difference between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt. So nothing shall die of all that belongs to the children of Israel. Exodus 9:6—“so the Lord did this thing on the next day, and all the livestock of Egypt died. But of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died. Seventh plague-- hail Exodus 9:26—“only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail. Ninth plague—darkness Exodus 10:23—“they did not see one another nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. Reason for God’s afflicting hand toward Egypt. Exodus 7:3-5—to produce knowledge. Verse 5 states, “and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand on Egypt and bring the children of Israel form among them”. Reason for God’s merciful hand toward Israel—Exodus 6:3-8— promise to Abraham. Verses 3,4, “ I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and the Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord I was known to them. I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan”. Children of Israel were by no means holy at this time. It was not because of the godly lives that God showed mercy to them. Read Acts 7:40-43. They had been involved in idol worship while in Egypt and it continues during 40 yrs of wilderness wonderings. Why is God Merciful? Titus 3:5 states, “but according to his mercy he saved us. II Peter 3:9, “God is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish. This is why God is merciful. His afflicting hand is used that his mercy can be brought forth. God’s afflicting hand has always been for one purpose. Decision we make today may affect those for generations to come. Daniel 9:4-17—vs 5, “we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments”. Judgments or decisions we make to could carry over for generations to come in our family, just like in the children of Israel. Why did God favor the children of Israel? It was not because they were righteous. Read Acts 7:37-43. Duet. 4:37 give the reason why he favored them, “and because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them, and He brought them out of Egypt with his His Presence and His mighty power”. Does God find favor today with Godly parents that his favor may carry to our children, even though they may not be godly? Genesis 19:13, “ then He said to Abram, know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them and they will afflict them four hundred years”. During their stay of four hundred years in Egypt, the descendants of Abram were by no means holy, but because of Abram, God blessed them, cared for them, kept them during these years. Later he destroyed them. But for a time they found favor in God’s sight because of their father”. - Cl Bruner