Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, his compassions never fail. They are new every morning. (Lam 3:22-23)
Every day, the only thing that keeps me going is the mercy of God. As I realized this, I realized that I know that I am only saved by grace, that I was a worthless sinner. But somehow along the line I started thinking that because I am doing good things, I now deserve to continue being saved. Instead, I am only here, each day, because of His grace
“Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.'” Luke 5:18-20
Jesus knew that mercy was what the paralyzed man really needed, not just physical healing. And he was more than willing to give it. I am studying the Bible with someone who is not sure if she believes, but does know that she is desperate for mercy and forgiveness. People who need forgiveness are starving for it, they seek it fervently, and want the peace it will bring more than anything else.
But I get caught up in my “good” life and forget my desperate need for mercy. It is true that “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.” It is true that the blood of Christ continually cleanses us from sin. But Jesus told to us to pray each day for our daily bread. To me, the daily bread is the mercy of God. His grace is sufficient. His outpouring on me and his loving workings in my life will get me through the day, but it is the only thing that will get me through the day. And what is given today will not hold over until tomorrow. Tomorrow I will need more grace.
“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:30-31
Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” Luke 6
Jesus’ nature is to dispense mercy. If I had been confronted with Levi and his friends, my main concern would have been the need to tell them to repent. I wouldn’t have thought of sitting down and eating and being chummy with them. It was great that Levi wanted to follow Jesus and then throw a party with his friends, but his friends needed to change what they were doing wrong! So I am more like a Pharisee than I would like to admit.
But Jesus gave them what they needed. I would think repentance is what they needed. And it was. But they also needed someone who truly cared about them, someone who truly liked them.
But I will spare a few of them from the sword, famine and plague, so that in the nations where they go they may acknowledge all their detestable practices. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” Ex 12:16
It seems like there wasn’t much mercy when God destroyed almost all of the Israelites. But the continuation of them as a race was utterly dependent on His mercy. They had all done evil, but in his mercy he saved a few. And ultimately all of us who believe are here today because the Jewish race survived so there could be the fertile ground for Christ to spring from.
Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” Luke 12:24
I have read this passage on why we should not worry so many times. But now it strikes me as a great lesson on what I can learn about God’s mercy. The ravens were completely dependent on God’s mercy. They foraged for food daily, but it was up to God to provide that food daily. In the same way, I do good things, but I am dependent on God that these deeds will bear fruit. I am even dependent on him to give me the strength and motivation to do the good things.
Maybe that is why I have been struggling with moodiness lately, so I can see what it is like without strength and motivation.
God, thank you for your compassions that are new every morning. Your mercy is like the dew of refreshment. It is like a warm blanket spreading everywhere. I am dependent on it for everything that needs to get done. It is my life preserver.