I Will Have Mercy…

Day 218

Prayer for the day

Let me hear of your loving-kindness in the morning, for I put my trust in you; show me the road that I must walk, for I lift up my soul to you.

Scripture for the day

Psalm 72-73, Romans 9:1-15

The conundrum: God seems to play favorites sometimes. We’ve talked about it before. The Psalmist (Asaph in this case) and the Apostle Paul recognize this and wrestle with it, each in their different ways.

Asaph seems concerned that God doesn’t play favorites nearly often enough. Asaph wants God to play favorites for his people, and to fight against those who would blaspheme God’s name. Asaph wants God to play favorites so that those who earn their good reward get it, and get it quick. Those who earn a less good reward get it quick as well!

Asaph is looking for good old justice. And until he sees that justice is eventually meted out, he is unsatisfied. He wants favoritism, but earned favoritism.

Paul, on the other hand, says that God does not play favorites, but that God will have mercy on whomever God decides. It is not any of the merit that allows this mercy to happen, it cannot be earned, it is simply given.

This may seem very scant hope or succour, as it makes God out to be capricious and arbitrary. The point of Paul, however, is not that God is capricious or arbitrary, but that God is gracious. Favoritism is really not what Paul or Asaph desire. They desire the justice of God in the timing of God, and that meted out by God.

The mercy of God means that we do not receive that which we deserve. And that God enables us to receive this mercy is an extraordinary gift. God has mercy that he doles out liberally, and our response, as with Paul and Asaph, is thanks to the saving God that he has mercy enough for us all.

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