God Desires Mercy
Scriptures Matthew 9:10-13 Hosea 6:6 Micah 6:8 John 13:34
When I think about mercy, I tend to concentrate on God’s Mercy to me, on how lost I would be without Him and the mercy He shows me every day. When I break it down, the focus is very much on me, on me being the recipient. Yet, in Matthew 9, Jesus reminded his disciples and the Pharisees of the words of Hosea “God desires mercy, not sacrifice”.
When Jesus did this, He was eating with publicans and sinners, people regarded as social outcasts by the Pharisees. Consequently, they were appalled at Jesus’ behaviour and questioned His disciples about this. Jesus’ reply was “Go and learn what this means”. He made it very clear that, although they may have religiously observed the law, they had no understanding of what God’s desire truly was.
Desire is a strong word to use. Not just to want something, but to long for it, to set His Heart on it. This is how God feels about us. He desires that we show mercy, not follow religious observances that have an outward appearance of some form of mercy, but to demonstrate true mercy. To live a life of mercy, not sacrifice.
The prophet Micah says that we are required by God to love mercy, an even deeper challenge. When there is a disaster somewhere in the world, or maybe closer to home, it is easy to perform an act of mercy. Send a donation to a charity, make up a food parcel, lay flowers on a footpath. Acts of mercy instigated by an event. But is this what loving mercy means?
No matter what we do, where we are or what our circumstances are, God is continually merciful to us. He is the One who keeps the air breathable, who holds back the oceans from flooding everything, who sends the warmth, the frosts, the rain that are necessary for crops to grow and animals to develop. He lives out Mercy because He loves Mercy, because He loves us.
Jesus told us in John 13 to love one another has He has loved us. His Love is not selective. He loved the publicans and sinners as well as the Pharisees, He loved the woman caught in adultery as much as the woman who bore Him. He wept over Jerusalem even though He knew the population would turn against Him. He told the story of the waiting father who loved his wayward son as much as he loved his hard-working son. None of this made sense to those who heard it then and, for many today, it still doesn’t make sense.
Mercy flows from a heart that delights to love the unlovable along with the lovable. And not just once in a while when a great need is put across our path, but all the while.
Prayer: Father, help me to learn what it means to truly love mercy. Let me do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with You, allowing Your Love to flow through me as pure Mercy.