Matt 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
It can be so easy for Christians to become self-righteous after they have become righteous. Any right living we may have acquired needs to morph into mercy not judgment. The reason these are blessed is because they also will receive mercy. All of us will need mercy at various stages of our life. If you do not sow it, you will not reap it. Even the lamenting prophet Jeremiah, known for his blistering pronouncements against Israel, wept for his people daily. He knew their only hope lay in the mercy of God.
Lam 3:21 This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
Hope is imperative for our mental health. We must recall good things that we may have forgotten. Negative circumstances push positive mindsets out of mind, thus we must make the decision to recall those good things. The things we easily forget in the clouds of guilt are the mercies of God. We do wrong and yet we are not consumed because God is compassionate. His mercies are new at the start of every day because our failings are fresh every day. We fall short of His glory in some way most days of our lives and so we are in need of fresh mercy every day also.
If we are unmerciful unto ourselves we will fail to be compassionate to others. Virtually every miracle of Jesus revealed the mercy, forgiveness and compassion of God for people. Probably more than anything else, Jesus’ life was typified by his compassion, mercy and grace. He had standards. He was a righteous and holy man. Nothing about Him was immoral or corrupt. He was pure as whites as snow, yet this did not make Him judgmental. Rather the reason the masses crowded Him was they felt safe from judgment around Him. A major secret to the healing and the miracles that accompanied Him was His compassion for people. He had compassion on the multitude because they were weary and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd. They were without someone who really cared for them. They had religious rulers, but they had no care for them at all, only judgment.
All the gifts of the Spirit are activated in an atmosphere not just of faith, but of mercy and compassion. In an atmosphere of judgment no healing will come from God. The river that flows from God is a river of love, mercy, grace and compassion.
Ruth 1:1 Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.
The story of Naomi in book of Ruth is an amazing demonstration of a person who returned to the house and found mercy. This was a bad time in Israel’s history. When critical, judgmental people rule, there will be famine in the land. There was no clear leader and everybody did what was right in their own eyes. Without clear leadership people will live at their lowest levels. Yet in the midst of this terrible time of judgment and famine, we discover an amazing story of love and harvest. Elimelech takes his family away from the house of bread and praise for natural, not spiritual reasons. They go to the land of Moab, a people descended from Lot’s incest with his eldest daughter. Where men go, they take their family. He wasn’t prepared to pay the price of staying in the land, but searched for comfort rather than character. It was only 50 miles way, not far by anyone’s standards, yet far enough to be another, but godless land. Death claims Elimelech, away from the life of the house of bread & praise. He attempted to escape death in Israel, but it found him in Moab. Rather than return, the sons now settle into the land for the next ten years, marrying Orpah and Ruth, both forbidden as wives for Israelites. Not only do neither of the marriages produce children, but both sons of Naomi die. Naomi is childless and a widow, there is hardly a worse circumstance for anyone to bear. How much pain does it take to get us to return to the Lord, to return to the House of God, to do the right thing in any circumstance?
Finally Naomi is ready to leave Moab and return to Israel, because she hears the famine is finished, that there is bread again in the land. Naomi was feeling the brunt and guilt of her daughter-in-laws misfortunes as being God’s hand against her. When we resist God, leave His house, it doesn’t just affect us. It has an impact on many around us. Naomi never foresaw the problems being away from the House of God would cause, and now her only answer is to get these two young women she loves as far away from her as possible. Ruth felt destiny in her connection with Naomi and was prepared to pay the price of leaving her family and homeland to enter that purpose. Once Naomi returned to the House of bread and praise, the mercy of God manifested in so many ways in her life. All she had lost she regained through her daughter Ruth. The richest man in town, Boaz, married her, she then gave birth to Obed who gave birth to Jesse whose son was David. David’s great great great grandson was Jesus Christ.
Ruth was a Moabite.
Her background was wrong. How could she get into the game of bringing the Messiah into the world?
Through the mercy of God.
See you in church!