JOB 16:1-5: “Then Job answered: I have heard many things like these. You are all miserable comforters. Is there no end to your empty words? What provokes you that you continue testifying? If you were in my place I could also talk like you. I could string words together against you and shake my head at you. Instead, I would encourage you with my mouth, and the consolation from my lips would bring relief.” CSB
OBSERVATION: What ever happened to mercy? We all want it. We all need it. And yet, it is a diminishing economy in today’s culture. The hallmark of our justice system is that one is innocent until proven guilty. Yet, we try and convict one another in the court of public opinion before any facts are known. Job was the victim of such an attack.
The old adage is, “Don’t kick someone when he is down!” Yet, we kick and throw rocks with our words. Words have the power to kill and to give life. When we use our words to judge one another we err on two counts. First, we assume the position of God who alone is the final judge. Second, we withdraw mercy and compassion and replace it with words that kill.
Job had lost everything. He lost all of his possessions, his children, and his health. Struggling to understand his calamity, and suffering from intense pain from boils that covered his entire body, he needed comfort, encouragement, and mercy. Yet, he received nothing but criticism and judgment. His family and friends turned on him in his deepest and darkest moment in life.
Job had a choice. He could harden his heart, or he could keep calling out to God. He could become bitter at his friends, or he could call them to mercy. Job did not mince words. His friends were miserable comforters. Yet, Job reminded them of what a true friend should do when they go to a friend who is lost and suffering. They should extend mercy!
- “If you were in my place I could also talk like you. I could string words together against you and shake my head at you. Instead, I would encourage you with my mouth, and the consolation from my lips would bring relief.”
This is true with someone who is going through a great trial and suffering. It is also true with someone who does not know the Lord. We quickly forget the mercy we received from God when we were lost in our sins. Saved and redeemed, we should be extending mercy to the lost. Of all people, we should have compassion for those who are bound by thoughts and actions that are opposed to God and are leading them toward destruction.
Apart from the mercy of God we all would still be lost in our sins. If it was not for His mercy, Jesus never would have come to a world that rejected Him, to die for their sins. And, if we are honest, if it were not for the mercy of God, we would have been cut off a long time ago. All of us have sinned. We have all held thoughts that are against the counsel of God. We have rebelled, sinned willfully, and yet – God in His mercy has called us back and restored us!
This is not to excuse sin or the consequences of our actions. If we play with fire, we will be burnt. Yet, without God’s mercy we would all find ourselves in the middle of the bonfire. It is God’s mercy that called us from our sin, restores us when we sin, and keeps us from sinning. If God does not withdraw His mercy from us, should we withdraw it from others?
When we forget God’s mercy we no longer have a passion to reach the lost. Instead, we write them off. We gather together with others who are like minded and agree with us. We look with disdain at those who oppose the things of God. Instead, we should look upon them with mercy! The spiritual blindness they are experiencing should motivate us to reach them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We never can forget the mercy that God has shown to us!
- “Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or males who have sex with males, no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom. And some of you used to be like this. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 CSB
Lord, in this day when the temptation is to judge and write off those who are not like us, who do not know the truth of the Gospel, help me to position my heart in mercy. Let me never forget the truth – “…and such were some of you…”. I was a sinner, lost and positioned against God in the way I thought and acted, and yet – the mercy of God reached out and touched my life. Lord, thank you for your mercy! Help me to be merciful in my life, my actions, and my words!
- “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7 CSB
In Jesus Name!