Jun 18, 2014

Mercy me.....

Reading Plan: The Book of Matthew
June Memory Chunk: Psalm 23
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"I desire mercy not sacrifice" Matthew 12:7

In Chapter 12 of Matthew, we find the disciples picking grain from the grain fields to eat on the Sabbath. The Pharisees were infuriated when they saw this happening.

They angrily told Jesus, "Look, your disciples are doing what s unlawful on the Sabbath." Matthew

Back story, the Sabbath was the seventh day of each week, which was a sacred festival in which the Israelites were required to abstain from all work. (see Deuteronomy 5:14, Exodus 20:10, Exodus 31:13) Including picking grain to eat.

Jesus sets those Pharisees straight pretty quickly.

He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

He then goes on to heal a man and they accused Jesus of disregarding the Sabbath again.

He went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. He said to them, Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.

Jesus rebukes them and sets them straight, again.

Girls, I cannot help but to think that we can have that same Pharisee mentality. We sometimes pour out the sacrifices to God, but withhold the mercy to those around us.

We joyfully sacrifice our time, efforts, and our works in plain view of others to see. We joyfully say, "this is for You, Lord!"

However, are we so busy "serving" and "sacrificing" that we don't help our brothers and sisters in need? Are we glad to lend a hand at church, go on a mission trip, sing in the choir, teach a Sunday school class...yet all the while turn our back on someone in desperate need of a little mercy?

These sacrifices are not bad things by any means, but they cannot be in lieu of showing others mercy.

Are we extending mercy as much as we are extending our sacrifices?

Mercy often goes unnoticed by the world. Remember yesterday's post?

Sacrifices get big praises. From the church, and from others around us.

Do we have a "works based" mentality, instead of a "grace based" mentality?

"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

We often sacrifice our very own families when we get caught up in being a do-gooder to everyone around us, yet neglect those that need us most.

God desires mercy, not sacrifice.

Mercy for the poor.

Mercy for the imprisoned.

Mercy for the unsaved.

Mercy for those that are different than us.

Mercy for those that don't act like we think they "should".

Mercy for our husbands. {umm, hello}

Mercy for our children.

Mercy for the family member gone astray.

Mercy for the waitress that screws up our order, over and over.

Mercy for the neighbor child that shows up at your door before daylight begins.

Mercy for the lady that checks out your groceries with a grumbling attitude.

Mercy for those that hurt us.

Mercy for those that disappoint us.

Mercy for those that reject us.

Mercy for those  who have spitefully used us. And continue to.

Why is it often easier for us to extend mercy to a stranger than one right under our very own roofs?

Our families are being torn apart--and left behind--because of our sacrifices and our duties. What are we teaching our children? Will they resent the sacrifices we made for the church or for the community because we end up spent and merciless after our endless sacrificing?

God desires mercy, not sacrifice.

When we stop making these "sacrifices", when we stop being the "goody-two-shoes bible study girl", when we stop doing things out of  a heart of duty or obligation.......we will become what God desires of us. Merciful.

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy" Matthew 5:7

Jesus is teaching us in this 12th chapter of Matthew that nothing is more important than the well-being of our fellow brothers and sisters. Sacrifice will never override mercy.

Aren't we glad?

I for one, desperately need mercy. I will screw up time and time again. Mercy is a gift when it is poured out. Mercy is the salve to a gaping wound. Mercy is the rainbow after a storm.

We all need some mercy, girlfriends.

Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice, because of His great mercy for us.

We can ease up on the sacrificing, His sacrifice covers us all.

Thoughts to ponder:

To whom do you need to show more mercy?

Where do you need to sacrifice less?

Are your sacrifices consuming your time so much that you don't have time for others?

Are you often doing things out of Christian duty instead of listening to God's voice for direction?

Can you think of a time when all you really needed was some mercy and you didn't receive it?

*You may be missing out on the greatest blessing of your life by your constant sacrificing. Mercy is what He desires.

*Pray and ask the Lord to reveal to your heart if you need to show mercy in an area. Ask Him to give you clear directions on how to move forward in mercy.

have mercy,


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