Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7 KJV
A few years back in the film, “The Ultimate Gift” by Jim Stovall, we see the story of a young man who is presented with the opportunity to inherit an large though undisclosed sum from his billionaire grandfather. There is a catch however; and that is that Jason must agree to follow all the instructions left by his grandfather in the will. The plot is filled with fun and adventure as young Jason Stevens discovers that to get his inheritance he must for the first time in his life get a job, make friends, and many other things without his credit cards, bank accounts or even help from his mother. Each new challenge tests Jason in a new area of his character. The climax comes near the end of the film when Jason receives 120 million dollars. He thinks it is his entire inheritance, yet because of the character transformation he has gone through he gives it all away. Only after he signs away the money to build a hospital does he receive the balance of his grandfather’s 1.2 billion dollar estate.
In today’s verse about mercy try to picture yourself as being Jason. God is giving us both a challenge and an opportunity. By His death on the cross Jesus Christ paid the price for mercy which is His ultimate gift. God’s instructions in the Bible then guide us through a series of tests in our everyday lives to see what we will do with God’s mercy. The mercy we give to others doesn’t cost us anything, any more than Jason’s 120 million dollars. So remind yourself as you face criticism, unfair treatment or harsh words -God has forgiven us freely. If we are willing to freely give the same mercy we have received, God promises that we will receive an inheritance of a mercy far greater than we can ever know!
O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14 KJV
Often when we ask God for mercy, we are asking for a past sin to be forgiven. But mercy is about more than sin and more than just about what is past. We often think of the Psalms as being a book written by David but many were written by Asaph, two by Solomon and Psalm 90 was written by Moses, as a prayer for mercy. Interestingly he first asks for mercy early. If you are like me you might want to try this. It doesn’t take me long into my day to mess up! But he is not here simply asking for God to forgive past sins. Mercy is also a cry for undeserved help in every area of our lives.
What are you facing today? Is it physical weakness or disease? Are you struggling in a damaged relationship, financial pressures or unfair accusations? God offers His mercy “early”. He anticipates our need before we even ask. He knows about the storm even before we hear the weather forecast. He sees the test results before we get the mail. God has already looked through our empty cabinets before we make our grocery list. He stands at the door of our room and watches us as we sleep, and then greets us as we wake. In the old covenant days God’s special holy place in the Tabernacle was called the mercy seat. Today, this very morning Jesus is sitting at that same spot and offering His mercy before we even speak a word, make our coffee or begin our work. He knows what will unfold and lovingly gives us mercy and all we need to do is ask!
Having a morning walk is one of the things I enjoy the most since retirement. Those 20-30 minutes give me a time to listen and look to see in the ordinary of things around the neighborhood what Jesus has in store for today. Remember that just as he said not to worry about tomorrow because today’s trouble is enough it also follows that enough for the day is the good. This morning the good was seeing this gander out for his walk showing off his lady friends. He wasn’t busy wishing he was a taller bird like a crane, or a better fisherman like the pelican. He was just strutting his stuff completely satisfied with a duck’s life.
I have discovered that those moments at the beginning and end of my days are like bookends. Everything that God has prepared of good and allowed for problems will be kept in place if we begin and end with Him! Have a blessed Sabbath and a praise filled Sunday!