Exodus 3:6a says “I am the God of your father —the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”
Jacob was a grabber and deceiver. God referred to Himself as the God of Jacob. He loves the sinner. That’s great when I have sinned. But the flipside of this benefit which I need to embrace is that when others sin against me, God loves them too and He calls me to be merciful to them just as He is merciful to me.
When the Pharisees questioned why Jesus consorted with tax collectors who are deemed sinful, here was Jesus’s reply: “On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matt 9:12)
The Pharisees, not having committed deception as the tax collectors did were oblivious to their own different (but sin nonetheless) sin of self-righteousness and self-effort that blinded them to who Jesus was. I am like the Pharisees when I look down on those who have sinned against me.
Mercy, not sacrifice. I could be offering up to the Lord or for the Lord’s work things that mean a lot to me but God desires mercy, not sacrifice. In Matthew 5:24, Jesus says “leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Whatever gifts and sacrifices are offered to the Lord are nothing until I have done my share in reconciling with my brother. What a difficult thing to do. Jesus knows it is difficult; that’s probably why He commanded it. If He just suggested it, I wouldn’t choose it at all.
While my flesh wants the pain caused to me to boomerang a millionfold to the one who offended me, You are teaching me that this is not aligned with Your will. And to give in to my will that is against Yours is sin. Thank You for revealing to me my self-righteousness and the absence of mercy in my heart. Change my heart, make it pure and holy like Yours. By Your power, please enable to me to be merciful just as You, my Father, are merciful and holy. Once again, I cast my burdens to You, fully trusting that You are in control. You have come to call sinners. Thank You for correcting me, a sinner. Thank You that You are calling those who violate me and You will work things out according to Your holy purposes in Your own way and time. Your thoughts and ways are higher than mine and You always do a better job than I so please help me to turn over the reins to You. You can not be mocked. I will choose to hide under the shelter of Your wings and let You do what only You can do best… be God. Thank You for reminding me that I should not foolishly usurp Your authority by my own feeble and ugly solutions. Help me today to be Your true daughter in Jesus’s name amen.
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