Devotional Thoughts for Today
“The God of Mercy”
“You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. 18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat.19 Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. 20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. 21 And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. 22 There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.
In 2011, Sandra Walker, a mother of two, lost her husband in a car accident that also caused her to have a life-changing brain injury. At the trial for the accident, in her court statement Walker said she sympathized with the woman who crashed into them—who herself lost a child in the accident—and gave her a hug. “I know she is going through as much pain as I am feeling. I wanted her to know that I forgive her for what she did,” Walker told a local new station. Stories like Sandra’s shows a picture of mercy, which is the topic for today’s devotional.
Mercy is defined as
“compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence” (Dictionary.com)
Mercy and grace are similar but not the same. Putting it simply, grace is getting favors what we don’t deserve while mercy is not getting the punishment what we do deserve.
As Ark of the Covenant was being constructed, the Law was placed inside the ark, and a lid called the mercy seat closed the box. God knew that Israel would break His law; nevertheless, He would be merciful by covering their law breaking—to guard those who truly loved Him from His wrath. Ultimately, this was achieved through the death of a substitute and the sprinkling of blood on the mercy seat itself (Lev. 16). The ark’s cover was used in making atonement for sin as the high priest sprinkled blood on the mercy seat—this showed that sin was forgiven and the people were covered by God’s mercy. What does this mean for us?
- We have been shown incredible mercy through the blood of Christ. It is said that Jesus came to “make atonement for the sins of the people” (Heb 2:17). It means that we can live each day with gratitude and freedom knowing Christ took on the punishment we deserved.
- It also means we can show mercy toward others. When people hurt or wrong us, we can have the strength to show forgiveness and mercy because it was first shown to us. Paul writes, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the mercy You show us when we do not deserve it! Help us to live each day remembering Christ’s mercy for us.
Bible Reading for Today: 2 Corinthians 8
Lunch Break Study
Read Romans 12:1-2: I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Questions to Consider
- What should be our response to the mercies of God?
- How does true transformation come in our lives?
- How can these verses challenge you to surrender in view of God’s mercy?
- It is offering our bodies as worship to the Lord. It means surrendering every part of our lives – physical bodies, possessions, careers, etc. to Him in light of the mercy He has shown us.
- Transformation starts in the mind – specifically through the Word of God. The word changes the way we see life, God and others and that’s where we should start when it comes to making changes in our lives.
- Take some time and mediate on what this means for you in every area of your life.
Mercy and forgiveness must be free and unmerited to the wrongdoer. If the wrongdoer has to do something to merit it, then it isn’t mercy, but forgiveness always comes at a cost to the one granting the forgiveness. – Tim Keller
As we look at the topic of mercy, take some time to think about the following:
- In what areas do you need to give to the Lord in response to his mercy on you?
- Is there anyone you need to forgive as God has shown his unmerited mercy on you?
Take some time to pray and ask the Lord to reveal these truths to you.