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Posts Tagged ‘Mercy’

Scripture: He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

Observation: The question is “How are we to worship?” With burnt offerings, calves, or thousands of rams. That, evidently, is not the answer since they are only “shadows of things to come.” Even child sacrifice, mentioned in v. 7, is not the answer. Instead God asks for three things: (1) “do justly,” which means literally to act with justice toward other people. (2) “love mercy,” or to love being merciful; and (3) “walk humbly with your God,” which means to have an attitude of humble wisdom in response to God. Interestingly, the first two principles have to do with how we relate to others, whereas this final one deals with how we relate to God. In a way, this is also how the ten commandments are divided in general terms: the first four have to do with our relationship with God while the last six have to do with our relationship with others.

Application: The three principles that Micah mentions, if applied to marriage, or in our family, can change how we relate to one another. Let’s think about these for a moment:
1. Do justly – It is possible that Micah mentions justice first because social injustice was the great sin which scarred the society of his day (cf. 3:1, 8). Practicing justice means to uphold what is right according to the will of God, and instead of offering animal sacrifices it requires the sacrifice of life – that is, giving ourselves to the other person to do what is right. Upholding what is right often requires the sacrifice of personal aims and ambitions as well as trying to see the other person’s point of view rather than passing judgment based only on our personal thoughts and feelings.
2. Love mercy – The justice which God wants is based on kindness and mercy. The Hebrew word (chessed) points to conduct which is becoming those who have been recipients of God’s mercy themselves and who should naturally extend it to others. The combination of the words “Loving mercy” is an active quality which means it should be translating “mercy” into deeds.
3. Walk humbly – The Hebrew verb “make yourself humble” (hattsnea‘) is used only in one other place in the Old Testament in Proverbs 11:2: “When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom” (NKJV). The term refers not so much to self-humiliation as to an attitude of humility and measured and careful conduct.
Relate to each other with justice, mercy, and with the humble spirit which results from our relationship with God.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, helps our attitude toward each other to reflect our relationship with you, and help us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before you and with our loved ones.

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Scripture: Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 136:1 (NKJV)

Observation: The words “His mercy endures forever” are a key phrase which occurs 26 times in this poem in reference to God’s goodness. The word translated “mercy” is Hessed, which means, “divine love” “compassion,” or “steadfast love.”

Application: I supposed if we sang this psalm today it would be like a praise chorus or a responsive reading with the same words repeated again and again. There’s probably a good reason for this repetition. Sometimes we forget or take for granted God’s abundant mercy and His steadfast love for us – He simply will not give up on us! The psalmist had experienced God’s overflowing mercy and expressed it repeatedly as a reminder to others, maybe even to himself.
I wonder if the psalmist also had in mind to teach us as married couples, as parents, as children, as families that we need to experience that steadfast love, that overflowing mercy, so that we can then extend it to our spouse, our children, our parents, our family! We seem to find it easier to practice judgment, and are critical and unforgiving with our spouse’s mistakes. We are impatient with our children when they do the opposite of what we want them to do. As our parents age and their health begins to deteriorate we become frustrated – some even become abusive. This psalm speaks to us, urging us to give thanks to God that His steadfast love, His abundant mercy, his overwhelming compassion, and to extend the same to our loved ones When we do, not only do we experience God in our lives but we become the extension of His love toward our loved ones who are also His children.

A Prayer You May Say: Father God, thank You for your mercy and love for us which last forever. Thank you that You don’t turn Your back on us; instead, You have compassion for us, and reach out to us to rescue us, to save us, to cover us with Your forgiveness and love. Help us to be more compassionate, more loving with others, especially those closest to us.

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Scripture: “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. ~ (Lamentations 3:22, 23, the Bible KJV)

Observation: The word is correctly translated as plural. It conveys several related ideas: covenant love, grace, goodness, kindness, compassion; each one of these connotations can be expressed with other words. compassions. Another plural word that expresses a deep feeling of empathy. It is connected to the word “womb” when it is related to a mother’s deep attachment to her child. The whole verse can literally be translated as follows: “The kindnesses of the Lord never cease; His compassion (feelings of solidarity) never fails.” (Andrews Study Bible Notes. 2010 (J. L. Dybdahl, Ed.). Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press.)

Application: All we have to do is stop for a moment and think about what he have done so far this day that deserves divine punishment. Sometimes even early in the morning our thoughts or careless actions toward the people closest to us deserve condemnation. If couples would stop to think about all those times they, as individuals, have been selfish, rude and unkind, stubborn and proud, and expressed words or displayed behaviors that we would be ashamed of, or at the very least embarrassed, if we were aware that angels, and even God, are our witness. How much sorrow those thoughts, words, or actions must bring to the Holy One, and if only His justice reigned we would certainly be wiped off the face the universe. But God’s justice is always balanced with His mercy and His grace. Eugene Peterson in his paraphrase “The Message” states the words of our passage, “GOD’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!”
We are truly blessed. Our marriage remains intact in spite of what we have done to each other. Our family is still together even though we have not been a good reflection of God’s love. And the reason we’re still together and have a marriage and a family is because God’s mercies are abundant and never cease. Pause right now to thank God for His mercies toward you, toward your marriage, toward your family. And then ask Him to help you display the same mercy toward those closest to you so that your marriage and your family may be a tru reflection of what he is to you every morning and every day.

A Prayer You May Say: Father God, thank You that Your mercies, your compassions are new every morning. Thank You for your faithfulness to us, even when we have not been faithful to you. Help us to be more merciful and compassionate toward those closest to us.

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Mercy in Marriage

Scripture: For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6 (NKJV)
Observation: This is one of the best known, most often quoted passages of the Old Testament. The word Mercy (vs. 6) is the same word as that translated love or faithfulness in v 4. It describes the steadfast love shown by God in His covenant with Israel. He does not want sacrifice in place of that type steadfast love; instead, He desires that Israel’s steadfast love should be the real thing. In place of whole burnt offerings He would prefer a genuine, deep personal relationship with Him.
Considering God Himself instituted sacrifices, this doesn’t mean that He did desired them that His people would stop offering them entirely, but rather that even in the Old Testament He valued moral obedience as the only end for which positive ordinances, such as sacrifices, were instituted—as of more importance than a mere external ritual obedience (1Sa 15:22; Ps 50:8, 9; 51:16; Ps 50:8, 9, Is 1:11, 12; Mic 6:6–8; Mt 9:13; 12:7).

Application: The marital relationship that follows God’s pattern should be one in which love, faithfulness, and mercy reign. First of all LOVE, the giving of oneself completely to another person, the unselfish devotion to another, the decision to seek the best for the other person. Secondly, FAITHFULNESS, which is the commitment to not betray the other person’s trust and to remain with them even when we may not “feel” like doing it. And lastly, MERCY, which is accepting the faults of the other knowing they are no more perfect than we ourselves are.
Our relationship with God is reflected in our relationship with one another. His desire is that we draw close to Him, that we love Him, that we remain faithful to Him, because the result of such relationship is that we we’ll be more loving to one another, faithful in our relationship with one another, and t hat we will extend mercy to one another. To most of us, it is more natural to be judgmental of others, while excusing ourselves. God’s order of things encourages us to look at ourselves before we look at the faults of others and to be merciful with others as God has been merciful with us. That is what Jesus referred to when He said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5 (NKJV)

A Prayer You May Say: Father, help me to be less judgmental and more merciful, especially with those closest to me.

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Mercy in the Family

Scripture: “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” (Matthew 12:7, ESV)

Observation: The first part of this chapter of Matthew speaks of Jesus and His disciples walking through the grain fields on the Sabbath where they picked some of the grain to eat. The Pharisees immediately began to criticize the disciples for doing something which was contrary to their views or traditions on how the Sabbath should be kept. Jesus responds by pointing them to the time when Kind David entered the house of God and ate some of the showbread, which was not to be consumed. Jesus then adds the words of our text today.

Application: In the family, with our spouse and children, we could become very strict with rules and customs. While the children need a clear structure so they know how to conduct themselves at home and outside, and children, particularly small children, need consistency with the rules and boundaries, we also need to be somewhat flexible with them as they grow up and learn what is expected of every member of the family. A very strict rule of law which does not allow for any options, or freedom to grow and make mistakes may produce children who rebel and resent their parents and the way they were brought up.
In marriage, as well, spouses need to be gracious and merciful with each other knowing that we’re all bound to make mistakes at some point or another. Particularly early in the marriage, as couples learn to live together, there needs to be more mutual flexibility and mercy.

Prayer: Father God, help us to remember Your mercy toward us, and may extend ours toward our spouse and children so that we may have a close relationship toward one another and with You.

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