Prayer for the day
Love the LORD, all you who worship him; the LORD protects the faithful, but repays to the full those who act haughtily.
Scripture for the day
It’s easy to believe that if you do good things, good things will happen to you. Much of our lives are built on this karmic understanding of positive and negative reinforcement. We teach it to our children. We enforce it in our students. Yet most of us know that this is not the way reality actually works out most of the time.
Job’s friends seem obsessed with convincing him of this kind of theology, however. They believe they are speaking the truth to job. They believe they are speaking and acting in Job’s best interest. But Job calls them on their faulty understanding of God’s character and action. Job says that they have misrepresented the God he follows, that God is not a God who seeks solely to reward the innocent and punish the guilty. Job speaks instead of the mercy of a God who recognizes the guilt in everyone, while seeing the relative innocence in those who seek to follow his laws.
Saul was one such man. He sought to follow the law of God by persecuting those he thought were dessecrating the law of God through their actions. He sought to punish evildoers, yet is confronted with a God who says that he is the evildoer. And this God of justice and mercy does not punish Saul beyond what he can bear, but shows him the way in mercy and in truth.
Neither Job nor Saul deserve God’s mercy, because mercy is undeserved. Neither, though they seek to be righteous, is 100% pure. And regardless of their status, God grants grace and mercy to each in his own way.
May the grace and mercy of God be ours despite our unworthiness!