Peace family, something I have been marveling over this week, is God’s amazing mercy, despite his right to completely condemn us as the righteous and perfect judge that He is.
A lot of times, people like to compare Jesus to God the Father, and say that God in the Old Testament is much less merciful than Jesus, citing examples from how Jesus interacted with people throughout his ministry. However, I’ve been reading through Genesis, and I have to say, I’m astounded by God’s mercy in the Old Testament.
I’m sure you’ve seen that list of Biblical names that says things like, “Noah got drunk, Moses was a murderer, David was an adulterer, Jacob was a liar, Joseph was arrogant…” and which goes on to say that if God could use those imperfect people, He can use you, too. However, let’s take away the focus from ourselves, and put it on God. It wasn’t just that God chooses imperfect people in order to accomplish his purposes. I was struck by how much a perfect God showed great mercy to them (and continues to do so to us!)
God was merciful to each of those people, even though they often made stupid choices and repeated those same stupid choices multiple times! We also see God being compassionate to people who aren’t even “main” characters. He’s merciful to Lot by taking him and his family physically by the hand and pulling them out of the city of Sodom as Lot lingers, even though Lot knows how wicked the city is and has already heard about God’s coming judgment. God shows mercy to Hagar, who “despised” her mistress after she became pregnant with Ishmael, by providing her with water in the wilderness and blessing her, despite the sin done to her, and that she has done. God has mercy on King Abimelech, who takes Abraham’s wife Sarah into his household, by preventing him from touching her and telling him in a dream why he must return her. God even has mercy on Cain, the world’s first murderer; instead of killing Cain as he deserves, God puts a mark on him that will protect him from being murdered by others, as he wanders the world in consequence to his fratricide. In story after story, God is building the stage for his ultimate act of mercy: letting the death (and resurrection) of his son absolve us of our own failure to obey him.
All of this to say- God put up with an amazing amount of trash! He still does. Surely we should be in awe of him and his goodness, instead of feeling like forgiveness is something owed to us, and that we might as well get away with whatever we can, because God will forgive us. It’s pretty normal among humans for us to take advantage of people who let us off the hook for things. Don’t treat God this way. We must remember his holiness! If anyone has the right to withhold mercy, it’s God, and yet time after time, he treats us far better than we deserve.
Peace family, be encouraged, and remember the goodness of his mercy towards us. Let’s take time to thank him for it, today!