A Call to Be Merciful

  • August 03, 2018
Friday 03

Luke 6:31-36

It’s common today to have a simplistic view of Jesus. This can be true even of believers if they aren’t sufficiently familiar with Scripture. Many Christians who passionately claim, “I just want to love like Jesus” have no idea what that entails.

One thing Christ requires of His followers is selfless love for those who mistreat them, and He gives the following reason, based on God’s character: “For He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men” (Luke 6:35). In essence, Jesus is telling us to have the same mercy for others that God has for us. 

Mercy is not simply feeling pity; it means acting with compassion. Instead of just sympathizing with us, God did something about our desperate condition—He sent His Son to save us from sin and its horrendous consequences. Although we can’t save anybody by showing mercy, we can demonstrate God’s kindness to others despite their treatment of us.

Being merciful to those who don’t deserve it is contrary to our natural inclinations and is possible only through the power of God’s Spirit within us. What we naturally want is justice. To extend mercy seems to say the offense against us wasn’t very bad—but this is a misunderstanding of the word’s meaning, because where no wrong has been committed, there’s no need for mercy.

When you are merciful, you are giving to others what God has given to you. And aren’t you glad that He doesn’t immediately deal out retribution for every sin you commit? So remember, God wants you to trust Him with all your hurts. And He also wants you to treat others (even your enemies) as you want to be treated—with mercy.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 46-49

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31 Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.

32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.

33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.

34 If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.

35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

1 Bel has bowed down, Nebo stoops over; Their images are consigned to the beasts and the cattle. The things that you carry are burdensome, A load for the weary beast.

2 They stooped over, they have bowed down together; They could not rescue the burden, But have themselves gone into captivity.

3 Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, You who have been borne by Me from birth And have been carried from the womb;

4 Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you.

5 To whom would you liken Me And make Me equal and compare Me, That we would be alike?

6 Those who lavish gold from the purse And weigh silver on the scale Hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; They bow down, indeed they worship it.

7 They lift it upon the shoulder and carry it; They set it in its place and it stands there. It does not move from its place. Though one may cry to it, it cannot answer; It cannot deliver him from his distress.

8 Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors.

9 Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me,

10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, `My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure';

11 Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.

12 Listen to Me, you stubborn-minded, Who are far from righteousness.

13 I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off; And My salvation will not delay. And I will grant salvation in Zion, And My glory for Israel.

1 Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon; Sit on the ground without a throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans! For you shall no longer be called tender and delicate.

2 Take the millstones and grind meal. Remove your veil, strip off the skirt, Uncover the leg, cross the rivers.

3 Your nakedness will be uncovered, Your shame also will be exposed; I will take vengeance and will not spare a man."

4 Our Redeemer, the LORD of hosts is His name, The Holy One of Israel.

5 Sit silently, and go into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans, For you will no longer be called The queen of kingdoms.

6 I was angry with My people, I profaned My heritage And gave them into your hand. You did not show mercy to them, On the aged you made your yoke very heavy.

7 Yet you said, `I will be a queen forever.' These things you did not consider Nor remember the outcome of them.

8 Now, then, hear this, you sensual one, Who dwells securely, Who says in your heart, `I am, and there is no one besides me. I will not sit as a widow, Nor know loss of children.'

9 But these two things will come on you suddenly in one day: Loss of children and widowhood. They will come on you in full measure In spite of your many sorceries, In spite of the great power of your spells.

10 You felt secure in your wickedness and said, `No one sees me,' Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you; For you have said in your heart, `I am, and there is no one besides me.'

11 But evil will come on you Which you will not know how to charm away; And disaster will fall on you For which you cannot atone; And destruction about which you do not know Will come on you suddenly.

12 Stand fast now in your spells And in your many sorceries With which you have labored from your youth; Perhaps you will be able to profit, Perhaps you may cause trembling.

13 You are wearied with your many counsels; Let now the astrologers, Those who prophesy by the stars, Those who predict by the new moons, Stand up and save you from what will come upon you.

14 Behold, they have become like stubble, Fire burns them; They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame; There will be no coal to warm by Nor a fire to sit before!

15 So have those become to you with whom you have labored, Who have trafficked with you from your youth; Each has wandered in his own way; There is none to save you.

1 Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are named Israel And who came forth from the loins of Judah, Who swear by the name of the LORD And invoke the God of Israel, But not in truth nor in righteousness.

2 For they call themselves after the holy city And lean on the God of Israel; The LORD of hosts is His name.

3 I declared the former things long ago And they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.

4 Because I know that you are obstinate, And your neck is an iron sinew And your forehead bronze,

5 Therefore I declared them to you long ago, Before they took place I proclaimed them to you, So that you would not say, `My idol has done them, And my graven image and my molten image have commanded them.'

6 You have heard; look at all this. And you, will you not declare it? I proclaim to you new things from this time, Even hidden things which you have not known.

7 They are created now and not long ago; And before today you have not heard them, So that you will not say, `Behold, I knew them.'

8 You have not heard, you have not known. Even from long ago your ear has not been open, Because I knew that you would deal very treacherously; And you have been called a rebel from birth.

9 For the sake of My name I delay My wrath, And for My praise I restrain it for you, In order not to cut you off.

10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

11 For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.

12 Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last.

13 Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together.

14 Assemble, all of you, and listen! Who among them has declared these things? The LORD loves him; he will carry out His good pleasure on Babylon, And His arm will be against the Chaldeans.

15 I, even I, have spoken; indeed I have called him, I have brought him, and He will make his ways successful.

16 Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit."

17 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go.

18 If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

19 Your descendants would have been like the sand, And your offspring like its grains; Their name would never be cut off or destroyed from My presence."

20 Go forth from Babylon! Flee from the Chaldeans! Declare with the sound of joyful shouting, proclaim this, Send it out to the end of the earth; Say, The LORD has redeemed His servant Jacob."

21 They did not thirst when He led them through the deserts. He made the water flow out of the rock for them; He split the rock and the water gushed forth.

22 There is no peace for the wicked," says the LORD.

1 Listen to Me, O islands, And pay attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called Me from the womb; From the body of My mother He named Me.

2 He has made My mouth like a sharp sword, In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me; And He has also made Me a select arrow, He has hidden Me in His quiver.

3 He said to Me, You are My Servant, Israel, In Whom I will show My glory."

4 But I said, I have toiled in vain, I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity; Yet surely the justice due to Me is with the LORD, And My reward with My God."

5 And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength),

6 He says, It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth."

7 Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and its Holy One, To the despised One, To the One abhorred by the nation, To the Servant of rulers, Kings will see and arise, Princes will also bow down, Because of the LORD who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You."

8 Thus says the LORD, In a favorable time I have answered You, And in a day of salvation I have helped You; And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages;

9 Saying to those who are bound, `Go forth,' To those who are in darkness, `Show yourselves.' Along the roads they will feed, And their pasture will be on all bare heights.

10 They will not hunger or thirst, Nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down; For He who has compassion on them will lead them And will guide them to springs of water.

11 I will make all My mountains a road, And My highways will be raised up.

12 Behold, these will come from afar; And lo, these will come from the north and from the west, And these from the land of Sinim."

13 Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people And will have compassion on His afflicted.

14 But Zion said, The LORD has forsaken me, And the Lord has forgotten me."

15 Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.

16 Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.

17 Your builders hurry; Your destroyers and devastators Will depart from you.

18 Lift up your eyes and look around; All of them gather together, they come to you. As I live," declares the LORD, You will surely put on all of them as jewels and bind them on as a bride.

19 For your waste and desolate places and your destroyed land-- Surely now you will be too cramped for the inhabitants, And those who swallowed you will be far away.

20 The children of whom you were bereaved will yet say in your ears, `The place is too cramped for me; Make room for me that I may live here. '

21 Then you will say in your heart, `Who has begotten these for me, Since I have been bereaved of my children And am barren, an exile and a wanderer? And who has reared these? Behold, I was left alone; From where did these come?'"

22 Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations And set up My standard to the peoples; And they will bring your sons in their bosom, And your daughters will be carried on their shoulders.

23 Kings will be your guardians, And their princesses your nurses. They will bow down to you with their faces to the earth And lick the dust of your feet; And you will know that I am the LORD; Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame.

24 Can the prey be taken from the mighty man, Or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?"

25 Surely, thus says the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty man will be taken away, And the prey of the tyrant will be rescued; For I will contend with the one who contends with you, And I will save your sons.

26 I will feed your oppressors with their own flesh, And they will become drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine; And all flesh will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."

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Publish Date September 22, 2019
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