Don’t Read This if You Don’t Need Mercy

Today I want to consider God’s mercy. Mercy essentially means “forgiveness or withholding punishment” To highlight the mercy of the one true God, let’s begin at an unusual passage of Scripture to consider mercy.

But there will be no poor among you; for the Lord will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess— 5 if only you will strictly obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all this commandment that I command you today.

Deuteronomy 15:4–5

Strictly Obey

God’s promises always have conditions. The Israelites were promised that none of them would be poor. This promise is astonishing. Also. notice the condition: “If only you will strictly obey.” As the Israelites prepared to enter the promised land, Moses reminded them of God’s strict commands. God’s commands for the Israelites were demanding because the land they were entering was a war zone and would remain a war zone for thousands of years.

The reason, in part, that our military requires boot camp is for military personnel to learn why orders must be obeyed. Recruits experience the damage from not strictly following orders. For the Israelites, our boot camps would have been like a walk in the park.

If you read the first few chapters in Deuteronomy, you will find that God promised a miracle-filled life for His chosen people if they strictly obeyed His commands. Women would never experience miscarriages, and there would be no poor, no sickness, no captives.

Confused Under Fire

So, when Jesus, the Son of God, came to humanity as a man, imagine His sadness as He walked through villages, towns, and cities. Everywhere He looked He saw poor people, Israelites held in all forms of captivity, illnesses, disabilities, and oppression.

Jesus must have felt like that of a military general walking through the carnage after suffering a massive defeat. The general would be asking himself, “Why didn’t they trust me? Why didn’t they use the skills they were taught? Why didn’t they listen? Why were they confused under fire?” Jesus didn’t need to ask these questions; He knew.

As Jesus surveyed the condition of His chosen people, He proclaimed to them, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,Luke 4:18 These words are from a prophecy the Holy Spirit gave Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1). Jesus was declaring mercy for failing to strictly follow God’s commands.

Good News

And therein is the good news. This same Jesus that went to the cross because of love extends His mercy to us. If we a foolish and say we don’t need forgiveness, then our sin remains on us. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.1 John 1:8

I am confident that we all know we need mercy. No matter what our present condition, Jesus is ready to love us, lead us, and let us become one of His own.

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22–23

Image by CCXpistiavos from Pixabay 

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