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Require Nothing and Get Grace and Favor

Esther 2:15-17

There is no mention of God in the book of Esther, but that does not mean that His influence is not felt. The book centers on the title character, and her rise from obscurity to queen in the court of Persian king Ahasuerus (Xerxes). Her ascension to the throne provides relief for her people, the Jews, who have been scattered in this foreign land, and are under threat of death by a maniacal servant of the king named Haman.

When the king becomes infuriated by the insolence of his wife, the queen Vashti, he appoints officers to go to all 127 provinces in the kingdom and gather the fairest young virgins to be brought to his palace at Shushan, and placed under the custody of his chamberlain, the eunuch Hegai. Hegai is in charge of preparing the women with whatever they desire, in order to present them, one by one to the king. The king will then choose one of these women to replace Vashti as the new queen over all of the land.

When it was Esther’s turn to prepare for the king, she asked for nothing, but took whatever recommendations were given to her by Hegai, the king’s chamberlain. As chamberlain, Hegai was the keeper of the bedroom of the king, and he had a better knowledge than anyone as to what the king desired in a woman. When Esther asks for nothing but Hegai’s advice, she obtains, “favor in the sight of all of them that looked upon her” (2:15).

The king loved Esther above all of the other women, “and she obtained grace and favor in his sight” (verse 17). In both Hebrew and Greek, the definition for grace is “favor”. Paul uses that thought when he tells believers that they should reign in this life because they have received “abundance of grace” (Romans 5:17). The power to reign in life over all vice, sin and sickness is found in receiving the abundant grace of God in every area.

How does one receive that abundance of grace? I believe that the answer is found in how Esther prepared herself for her night with the king. Christ is our “king”, and we want to be well-pleasing to Him. When the Holy Spirit, who knows what is pleasing to Christ, begins to work in us, we are better served to allow Him full control. When we require nothing more than what the Holy Spirit wishes to bring out of us, we will be in a position to receive, and walk in, God’s abundant grace and favor.

When our flesh enters the picture, and we try to work things out with our carnal minds, we grow frustrated, and produce dead works (Romans 8:5-7; Galatians 5:19-21). When the Spirit does the work, the branch produces fruit, and we walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25).

Grace and favor are yours today, by the price paid by Jesus at the cross. You have the hand of God leading and guiding you, providing you with all good things. God is on your side, ready to fight your battles, so relax in His peace, let the Holy Spirit do the work and you do as Esther, put on the royal crown.

 

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Unlawful Usage of the Law

1 Timothy 1:4-11

Timothy was a young preacher who was saved under the ministry of, and mentored by, the Apostle Paul. Paul felt a special closeness to this young man, and reserved some of his finest instruction for ministry and preaching in the final two letters of his life, both addressed to Timothy.

The first few verses of his first letter to Timothy are rich in good advice about what not to preach. He tells him to avoid fables and endless genealogies, which only cause people to ask questions that lead nowhere (verse 4). On the contrary, he instructs Timothy to edify the hearers, challenging their faith (verse 4).

Paul’s instruction to Timothy is not unlike Jesus’ very simple command to Peter, when He asked Peter if Peter loved Him. When Peter said that did indeed love Him, Jesus replied, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17).

Then Paul begins to get specific with Timothy as to how to edify the listeners. Every preacher, pastor, evangelist, and even lay person would do well to grasp what Paul says about the “glorious gospel” (verse 11). He tells him that the end of the commandment is “charity out of pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned (not pretending)” (verse 5). The Law demanded that men love the Lord with all of the heart, mind and soul, but no man was able to do that without a heart reformation. Christ entering into us gives us that reformation, thus completing the demand of the Law. Paul then warns that some preachers have turned aside from preaching that, to “vain jangling” or “useless talk” (verse 6).

What a bold thing to say! By continuing to preach the commandments, Paul says that a preacher is presenting useless talk. To further the argument, he continues in verse 7 with this powerful comment:

“Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm” (1 Timothy 1:7).

Now Paul wants to make sure that no one thinks that he is against the law, so he says that it is good, “if a man use it lawfully” (verse 8). Wait a minute! If there is a lawful way to use the law, then there must be an unlawful way to use the law. Paul says, “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane…” (verse 9). In light of this instruction, why is the law so frequently used against Christians? When a saint fails, we often hear the same condemnatory remarks used, citing the Law of God, as we do against the sinner. Instead, we should edify the believer, reminding them of who they are in Christ. Only the grace of God is going to teach them how to live righteous in this present world (Titus 2:11, 12).

Saint, receive no condemnation today. Let the love of God and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son silence the voice of condemnation in your spirit. God’s Law is just, holy and good and it shows people their sins. You are clean in Jesus, so see His grace and favor, and walk therein.

 

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From a Harlot to a Grandma!

Joshua 2:1-24

The story of the conquest of Jericho would be incomplete without the salvation of Rahab the harlot. She lived on the town wall, strategically located to bring success in her line of work! It also provided a great stopping point for the spies that were sent in to access the strength of Jericho. We know how the story ends, with Rahab hanging a scarlet thread out of her window, and the army of Israel sparing her and her family. What we don’t think about often enough is that this woman was saved long before the thread came out the window.

Hebrews chapter 11 lists Rahab in the New Testament’s Hall of Fame of faith: “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace” (Hebrews 11:31). Did you notice when she “perished not”? It was not when she obediently put the scarlet line in the window, but rather when she received the spies with peace. Her placement of the scarlet line was to save her physical life, and it was a testimony to all who would see that she had placed her faith in the army of God.

Rahab displayed her faith before the spies had even laid down on her roof, to hide from their pursuers: “I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you…as soon as we heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath” (Joshua 2:9, 12).

What a profession of faith she had. Her actions afterward were the sign of an inward change (James 2:25). It was her initial faith that brought the spies to stop in her house, as they could have stopped anywhere, but the Holy Spirit had found a household of faith. Notice how our Father’s provision covers everyone. The spies found safe shelter and the harlot found a new life and a new hope.

After her rescue from Jericho, we do not know what she does from day-to-day within the camp of the Israelites, but she obviously adopts their ways and becomes a part of their society, because we do see her again, this time as one of only 4 women listed in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:5). She becomes the matriarchal head of the line that produces Boaz, king David and eventually, the Lord Jesus.

Whatever your lot in life, remember that every moment is another chance to change it all. You may have ruined many things and burned many bridges, but God is not looking for scarlet lines of obedience, just open hearts of faith. Don’t get me wrong, the obedience will come, but let us walk in the faith of Jesus Christ first, and all of us can change from who we are and become known by who we become.

Go in His peace and prosperity, with the abundant favor and blessings of God upon you in Jesus’ name.

 

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The Finished Work Litmus Test

How familiar are you with the finished work of Jesus Christ? When you think of the cross, do you think of a man suffering and dying, or do you think of the reasons why that man suffered and died? For that matter, do you consider why it had to be that man? Could it have been anyone else who died, and if not, why? These are fundamental, simple questions about Calvary upon which the bedrock of Christianity rests.

Take this little test with me to ascertain whether or not you truly understand the work that Jesus accomplished at the cross. It is a simple test and it will only be effective if you are 100% honest in your answer. I will pose one scenario with two possible responses. You pick the response that sounds like what you FIRST think of when you see that scenario.

Scenario: Soldiers are lashing at Jesus with a whip while the flesh is ripped from His back. He is punched in the face repeatedly, and is mocked and scorned while never lifting a hand to defend Himself. A crown of thorns is plunged into His skull and the blood flows down His face, stinging His eyes. He is forced to carry His own cross up a hill where He is stripped of His clothes and then nailed to the wood, with spikes through His hands and feet. His cross is set between two common thieves and then elevated so that all can look upon Him and laugh. He struggles to breathe while the thieves hurl insults at Him. The sky grows back and you hear Jesus scream as His body takes upon it all kinds of diseases and sicknesses. Finally, He utters some words and hangs His head and dies.

Response #1 – “Oh, what a price He paid for me. He went through all of that because of my sin. He suffered and died at the hands of the Father, the least that I can do is live for Him!”

Response #2 – “Oh, what a price He paid for me. He went through all of that because of my sin. He suffered and died at the hands of the Father so I can rest assured that the Father will never judge me!”

Notice that both responses are exactly the same right up until the end. I did this on purpose, because I believe that all of us feel sadness and pain when we see that scenario, and we all realize that Jesus suffered because of our sins. The difference lies at the end of our response. Some people view Calvary as a motivation to live right. If Jesus could suffer and die for them, the least that they could do is live for Him. Calvary then becomes a source of condemnation for these believers; for they feel that no matter what they go through, they will never live up to the price that Jesus paid.

If your response was #2, then you view Calvary as a finished work that guarantees that you will never be punished in the manner that Jesus was punished. He was disciplined for your peace (Isaiah 53:5), so you need never fear an angry God. He bore your sins and iniquities so that God cannot and will not judge you for them, ever. This saint believes that if God judges them for sin, then He did not judge all sin in the body of Jesus, which Peter made clear that Jesus did (1 Peter 2:24).

Jesus did not suffer and die so that you could constantly be reminded of how poor that you are living up to His death. He suffered and died so that you could have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). The scenario remains the same, but if need be, may our response begin to change.

 

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Ananias and Sapphira

Acts 5:1-11

When the Lord began to reveal to me the revelation of His abundant grace and goodness, it was a marvelous journey. It was akin to being saved all over again, as I saw just how much that the finished work of Christ had truly been finished. I was thrilled to learn new things about His forgiveness and His mercy as I searched the scriptures afresh. In His grace, life is truly abundant.

One passage that troubled me as I grew in this knowledge is found in the fifth chapter of Acts and it concerns the deaths of Ananias and his wife Sapphira. This story is an obvious case of God killing someone post-Calvary and it seemed very reminiscent of God’s dealings with Israel in the Old Testament. It seemed as if every day God was opening up His covenant to me showing me that He is no longer mad at mankind and that He had been appeased by the death of His Son on the cross, so why was He so obviously killing two of His children in Acts 5?

After much prayer and study, and several journeys into every commentary that I owned, I had nearly concluded that I would not find the answer. Nearly every commentator mentioned God’s wrath against sin and how some sins were so grievous that God would kill you on the spot if you committed them. Others taught that this story is a warning to the church that there is only so far that you should push God before people begin to die as part of His swift hand of judgment. I could not in good conscience accept these answers and still see God as having been propitiated at Calvary. Propitiation is “satisfaction”, and if God was satisfied, how could He punish a believer for failure?

The answer is found in the question that Peter asks Ananias, after Ananias lies to Peter concerning the price of the land that he has sold. “Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?” is a question that reveals who Ananias is. No believer can be filled with the Spirit of God and with Satan, for there is no room in the heart for two masters (Matthew 6:24). If Satan had filled their hearts then we know that Jesus did not live there.

The author of the book felt the same way apparently, as he refers to Ananias as “a certain man” in verse 1. Only non-believers were referred to in this generic way in the book of Acts (Acts 10:1; 16:16) with believers being “certain disciples” (Acts 9:36), or “certain prophets and teachers” (Acts 13:1).

When a sinner rejects Christ long enough, there is nothing left for them but certain death. Having said “no” to Jesus, they have truly rejected the calling of the Holy Spirit, and have actually blasphemed his conviction. There remains no more hope for them, and they place themselves back under God’s wrath (John 3:36). This is why the angel smites Peter in Acts 12 and it wakes him from his sleep. The angel then smites King Herod in verse 23 and it kills him. When God smites the believer it wakes them up to who they are in Christ, but when he smites the sinner, it is His final judgment on their soul.

Do not have a fearful expectation of fiery judgment from your heavenly Father. You are the righteousness of God in Christ, and your Daddy is looking out for your good. When you fail He is not waiting with lightning bolts to smite you down, but rather He is waiting with a nail scarred hand to pick you up.

 

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For God So Loved

John 3:16, 17, 36

What a great phrase, “For God so loved the world”! There is a world of power and love that is hanging on that little word, “so”. He “so” loved us that He killed His own Son Jesus so that He would not have to kill all of us. He “so” loved us while we were living in sin and rejecting Him that He showed that love off on a hill called Calvary. That “so” love is why we are here.

I personally consider this statement to be one of the most important regarding the grace of God, because it shows us how much that God loves each and every person. There is no love like sacrificial love that denies its own to save another. While a segment of the church clamors to put the Ten Commandments on the walls of our schools and courthouses, where is the focus group wanting to display John 3:16? The luster has been removed from scriptures regarding God’s powerful love for humanity, but we should polish them, and bring it back!

The 17th verse tells what makes verse 16 so great, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved”. The reason that Jesus came was not to condemn the world, for they were condemned already. They could be no guiltier than they already were, and the knowledge of that guilt was not helping them to change in the least. Instead, Christ came to provide a way of escape from the guilt and condemnation. Through His payment at the cross, man would be reunited with God, having no wall of separation between them, if He merely accepts Christ by faith.

As we live for the Lord it is easy to forget just how loved that we are. Sometimes we may think that His love for us is tied to our performance for Him. If we do good, perhaps He loves us more, but if we do bad then His love wanes a bit. Because God “so loved the world”, He gave His Son to save us not only from our sins, but also from our performance. If Christianity were all about performance, then Christ’s death on the cross was a waste of time. Judaism was already about performance before Christ came and died, but His death was the culmination of His perfect performance. Because He performed perfectly, you and I partake in His perfection.

John writes, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). Our performance has nothing to do with receiving the life that lasts forever. Our faith in Jesus Christ is the sole requirement, while the lack thereof will place us underneath the wrath of God. Since God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus at the cross, there should be none left for us. Stay in Jesus by faith and you are free from any judgment.

To comprehend how great God’s “so” love is for us, we should consider the magnitude of His giving His only Son. There is no one on the planet that I would sacrifice my son for, so I cannot fathom this type of love, yet God did it so that I could go free. Receive a revelation of His “so” love for you today and watch as the chains of condemnation fall from your heart and mind.

 

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The Marvel of Jesus

Luke 7:1-10

Yesterday, we looked at Jesus’ statement to His disciples concerning their lack of faith during the storm. We also contrasted that faith with the faith of the centurion who requested that Jesus simply, “speak the word” so that his servant may be healed. Jesus called this “great faith”, for the man, though a Gentile believed that he could take as much as he needed from Jesus.

This also marks one of only two incidents that are recorded in the Gospels in which Jesus marveled. When the centurion proclaimed that he believed that Jesus had authority over sickness and could simply speak the word, “he marveled at him” (Luke 7:9). Seeing that there were not many things that caused the Creator to marvel, it is worth noting what those two things were.

The other incident occurs in Mark 6 when Jesus is in His home town of Nazareth, and the crowd becomes offended because of Him, knowing both His family and His occupation. They do not see how the son of Mary and Joseph, who has made His living as a carpenter, can consider Himself a prophet. Jesus, “could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them” (Mark 6:5). Their unbelief caused Jesus to marvel (verse 6).

These incidents show us that Jesus marveled at rank unbelief and at great faith. In both cases, Jesus was fascinated by man’s capacity to believe Him. In one instance, Israelites would not believe even if confronted with miracles of healing. In another case, a Gentile could not help but believe, even trusting the spoken word of Jesus to bring about a miracle.

The marvel of Jesus towards unbelief was aimed at Jews, who claimed to be of Abraham, the “father of the faith”. This marvel shows up again when He speaks of the great faith of the centurion, telling the Jewish crowd that was assembled that He had not found that kind of faith in all of Israel. He is not speaking geographically, but rather spiritually. In all of His dealings with Jews, Jesus had yet to see one who believed Him so completely.

Perhaps the reason for this is found in how we qualify or disqualify ourselves for God’s blessings. The Jew would have been a slave to the Mosaic Law, and would have considered themselves guilty and condemned on a day to day basis. The fact that they knew that they could not keep the law would have disqualified them in their own mind from receiving any good thing, such as healings or miracles. When you think that you are guilty, you do not feel worthy of any of God’s goodness.

The centurion on the other hand is a Gentile, with no Jewish background, thus he is not living under perpetual guilt by the weight of the law. When he requests a miracle from Jesus, Christ marvels at the amount of faith that he displays, trusting that Christ can do whatever He wishes. Without the condemnation of law-breaking, this centurion can see past his own works or lack thereof and look directly at Christ’s ability, thus his faith is “great faith”.

Does Christ marvel at your unbelief or your belief? If you feel that you are unworthy or unqualified for His goodness and blessings, then He marvels at your holding onto your condemnation. But if you believe Him for great things, He will marvel that you are walking so free from the cares of this life. He is marveled with us today, so may we marvel Him with our faith!

 
 

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The Lord’s Prayer

Matthew 6:9-13

The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1), and what we call “The Lord’s Prayer” is part of what resulted from that lesson. We know that He did not intend for us to pray this prayer word for word on a daily basis, for He had just finished saying, “When you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (Matthew 6:7). Instead, Jesus lays out a pattern for prayer, which each believer would do well to follow, for it shows us important insights into what prayer can and should accomplish.

“Our Father which art in heaven” – He is our Father, and we have the right to call Him that. Paul goes so far as to say that we can now call Him, “Abba” which means, “Daddy” (Romans 8:15). This is a privilege of close relationship that we should take advantage of often.

“Hallowed be thy name” – The Greek word for “hallowed” is only used twice in the New Testament, and both times in the Lord’s Prayer. It is more commonly rendered, “sanctify” which is to purify and set apart. This is the equivalent of viewing God as “holy” which means “uncommon”. Our God is a truly uncommon God and should always be viewed as such.

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” – God’s kingdom has come in part by the death of Christ on Calvary, so we need never pray that His work be repeated, but His future kingdom is yet to come, so praying for His return is to anticipate as much (Revelation 22:20). His will is what we aim for in our prayers and in our lives, so it should always be sought out when we pray.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” – Jesus is our bread (John 6:35), and if we eat Him, we shall have His life (6:57). Let’s not wait until Sunday service to eat this bread of life, when we can have Him every day.

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” – Having accepted forgiveness of sins by the blood of Jesus, we need never again pray this prayer. We have no debts, for Jesus paid our debts with His life. Under law, forgiveness is based on us having a like spirit of forgiveness, but under grace it is given for Christ’s sake (Ephesians 4:32), and now we forgive not to be forgiven, but because we have been forgiven.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” – Temptations are not always opportunities to get us to sin. These types of temptations are actually never from God, as He can tempt no man with evil (James 1:13). Temptations are also testings, which Jesus tells us to pray that we do not have to go through. The Holy Spirit within us teaches us all things (1 John 2:27), so pray that you need not go through the tests of this world.

“For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.” – Start the prayer with praise, and end it with praise, for He is worthy. Simple acknowledgement of who He is will bring strength into your life, for the Holy Spirit within you will identify you as being His child and a recipient of all of His benefits.

 

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The Valley of Decision

Joel 3:14

This scripture is actually a prophetic one, dealing with the condition of the world when Jesus returns to the battle of Armageddon, but I think that we can see a modern application as well. The Hebrew word used for “decision” is “kharuts” and it is often rendered “trench, mote, or ditch”. The valley that God is inviting the heathen into will ultimately be their doom, or literally the ditch that buries them in the Day of the Lord.

In our day and time, prior to the great battle that is to come, there are still multitudes in the valley of decision. Life has thrown them more than one curve, and they find themselves wondering what to do next and where to turn. In these moments of decision, it is important to remember a few key things about valleys.

First, valleys come between mountains. On each side of a valley is a mountain, and these can represent very difficult times in our lives as well as high points of success. You have already been through an enormous amount with your previous mountains, but there are more to come. Think back on what you have come through and what it taught you. How might yesterday’s mountain help you in today’s valley?

Secondly, valleys are fertile ground, good for growing a harvest. No crop grows on the mountain, but the best of the best find root in the rich valley. The greatness that takes us up the next mountain was birthed in the soil of the previous valley. We know that the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike (Matthew 5:45), so we cannot assume that valleys are all bad or are all from God. We go through them, and we are better on the other side.

Finally, the valley is always temporary, and you are never alone. Remember that the Shepherd’s Psalm (Psalm 23) shows the shepherd leading the sheep beside green grass and still waters, but then suddenly we are in the valley of the shadow of death. The shepherd did not lead us there, but we are there anyhow. Sometimes we find ourselves in a tough spot, but our shepherd is always somewhere nearby, keeping a close watch on us.

There was once a little boy who lived deep in the forest with only his father. When it came time for the boy to begin school, he begged his father not to make him go, for he had to walk several miles one way through the forest, and he was terrified that bears were going to hunt him. The father forced the boy to go, telling him that he would be just fine and not to worry. That didn’t help the boy at all as he set out for school shaking with terror.

Every day as he walked along the path, the boy heard sounds in the brush that sounded like footsteps. One day, while heading home from school, his worst nightmare came true. Standing in front of him was a huge bear with teeth bared. The boy closed his eyes and prepared to be dinner for the bear when he heard a shot ring out in the woods. The big bear crashed to the ground just feet in front of the boy, sparing him from certain death. The boy began to cry big tears as his father came running out of the woods carrying a rifle. “I told you there were bears in these woods and you wouldn’t listen! It’s a good thing you were out here hunting or that bear would have killed me” he yelled at his father. Embracing the boy, the father reassured him, “Son, I wasn’t out hunting. I watch you from the woods every day to see that you get to and from school safely. The sounds that you hear in the brush are always me, just making sure that you are okay”.

 

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The Lord Prefers Mercy

Hosea 6:6

Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees concerning His eating with publicans and sinners. He responded that the healthy do not need a doctor, but the sick do (Matthew 9:12). He then challenged those Pharisees to “go ye and learn what that meaneth, ‘I will have mercy, and not sacrifice’: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (9:13).

The passage that Jesus is challenging them to go and learn is found in the Old Testament book of Hosea, and it is an indicator as to the nature of God. The default position for God has never been judgment, but rather, it has always been mercy. When Adam sinned in Eden, God could have killed him outright or worse yet, he could have let him remain in the Garden to eat the Tree of Life and live forever in a fallen state. God’s mercy kept Adam from that terrible fate, and then went with him to sojourn the earth.

When God dealt with Abraham, He showed him constant mercy, even though Abraham brought along his nephew Lot, and lied to Abimelech about his wife, as well as to Pharaoh. God gave him endless mercy, for that is the heart of God.

God has always desired to show mercy over the offering of sacrifices, but few men could see that through their blind lust to attempt to do the right thing by their own power. When David sinned with Bathsheba, the prayer that resulted from that terrible sin of adultery was one of faith and hope in a better covenant. The normal method for receiving forgiveness of sins was to slaughter a lamb and offer its blood as atonement for one’s sins, but David bypasses this method, stating, “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalms 51:16, 17). There was not a single scripture to indicate to David that God wanted anything but sacrifice, but his heart of faith knew that it was not the heartbeat of his loving Father to prefer anything but mercy.

God desires mercy over sacrifice because mercy speaks of relationship, while sacrifice speaks of religion. For a merciful exchange, there is an intimate relationship that results, while a sacrifice is a ritualistic, religious practice that needs only obedience but no emotional attachment. In other words, anyone can offer up a sacrifice with no change of heart, but God wants to know His children. Mercy is for those that you know, while sacrifice is for those that you wish to know. We have a greater relationship with our Daddy God than to just “want to know”.

Apparently, the Pharisees ignore Jesus’ request to study the book of Hosea, for He says the same thing to them a few chapters later when they accuse the disciples of doing unlawful things on the Sabbath day. “But if ye had known what this meaneth, ‘I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless’” (Matthew 12:7).

Thank God for His mercy and goodness toward us! Let’s not be accused of the same apathy as the Pharisees. Let us study to show ourselves approved and find out what it means when Jesus says “I prefer mercy and not sacrifice”.

 
 

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