A Wideness in God’s Mercy

Day 24

Prayer for the day

Come, let us sing to the LORD; let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.

Scripture for the day

Exodus 9-11, Matthew 15:21-39

Jesus’ attitude toward the Canaanite woman is surprising. Don’t we always assume that God loves everyone and wants to help everyone? What’s going on with Jesus rejecting a Canaanite?

Jesus’ answer to the woman, that he was sent to the lost sheep of Israel, denotes not cruelty, but focus on his mission. He was sent to a certain group of people, and so will work with those people. The woman’s answer, however, reveals that the plan of God is broader than the mission of Jesus alone. While Jesus was sent to the people of Israel, the scope of the good news goes far beyond.

Even early on, Moses and the Israelites experience the working of God in a people that don’t know God. It may be in parentheses, but it’s hard to overestimate the importance of the recognition that the Lord made the Egyptians favourably disposed to the Israelites. Even Moses was highly thought of by everyone but Pharaoh.

It’s sometimes easy to think of ourselves as special, as the only vehicles of God’s blessing and grace, as the ones God really loves. These two examples show us clearly that while we are definitely special, we’re special in the same way: we are beloved. God is at work in the Christian and in the non-Christian, in the Israelite and the Egyptian, in the Hebrew and the Canaanite. God is a god of incredible blessing, blessing and grace that blow our minds sometimes. The limits we would place on the grace and blessing of God have little place in God’s economy.

It’s a glorious grace that can reach beyond peoplehood, nationality, and race, beyond any limit we would place on it, to reach the highest and the lowest. It’s time for us to recognize our limited grace and the glorious wideness of God’s grace.

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