The cost of mercy

 

 

If you could imagine a teenager called Darren as he grows he comes to a realisation that he is feeling left behind, and going no where . A car would be the answer. He has found car he wants on the garage forecourt by his house. It’s price was clearly marked in the window but was well above what he could afford. Yet he was determined and started to save. Desperate to move forward in his situation. As the months went past the saving didn’t go well. There were so many other things that wanted his money.

 But the garage owner had noticed he had been looking longingly at the car as he walked past, and

took compassion on him. Stopping him one morning, he showed him mercy, telling him that he understood his need to get out of his situation, and move forward. And he simply gave him the car! The price was on the car, and Darren knew just how much it had cost and the kindness he had been shown.

It is understanding the price of mercy and the compassion of God towards us that make the heart change that God wants for us . Despite his effort and self saving Darren was never going to get out off his situation.

It was a need to understand Gods mercy that got me digging in the bible other day and found myself in the story of Jacob and his hungry family facing the real possibility of starvation.

 

He said “ Behold I have heard that there is grain in Egypt, go down there and buy some for us from that place so that we might live and not die.    Genesis 42v2

 

Like Darren, Jacob understood his situation and that without action they were going to be stuck in it. Jacobs sons arrive in Epypt but no life giving grain could be obtained unless they stood in front of Joseph. The favoured son, the one who had spoken of a future in which they would bow to him, and just like Jesus they sold out of sight and mind for pieces of silver ( Genesis 37v28).

Joseph knew these brothers and what they had done, yet they had no realisation of who he was. But now they were faced with the price of their sin and the cost of the life they desired.

Joseph accuses them of being spies, coming to seek out the undefended parts of the land.

We may not be spies but we are foreigners approaching the throne of grace. Even foreigners who like spies are hoping for a back door into Gods favour. Rather than coming through the door that is Christ ( john 10v2). The Brothers may not have recognised or understood the lord ( of Egypt ) but they had been warned of a day when they would be required to bow before him standing as sinners fair and square. Sinners who although they have tried to cover up, the unobtainable cost of their sin was before them like the price of a car before a penniless teen.

 

… then they said to each other” truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us and we would not listen…”  Genesis 42v21

 

There was only one thing that would satisfy the judgement of Joseph who held the life and death of Jacobs family in his hands.  Benjamin, the youngest son of Rachel. He was required to be bought into the situation, without him there would be no life. And suddenly the cost of their sin was before them.  As they had ignored the life of Joseph so they were about to deliver Benjamin also to an uncertain future. Benjamin  who name means ‘son of right hand’.

Later Jacob says it for us with a realisation that mercy in life and death comes from God the Almighty.

 

…and may God Almighty grant you mercy in the sight of the man …  Genesis 43 v 14

 

Jesus the son of God who sits at the right hand of the father is the only way we find the life we seek and the mercy that will unlock it.  No money or the best offerings from our stuff can give us the mercy and life that we realise we need. It just can’t be bought. Mercy comes as we face the cost of our sinful deeds followed by repentance not works or a pay back plan.  We are foreigners before God our only way is the door that is Christ (our Benjamin) and his death on the cross our full payment, the only way out of our ‘stuck in the mud’ situation.

 

Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice. How blessed are all those who long for him.   Isaiah 30 v 18

 

Mercy goes on through the bible and is the lid that covers the 10 commandments on the ark of the covenant, a reminder to God to serve his judgment with mercy. ( that’s for another time )

But we need to wake up to Gods mercy available for free by the death of Jesus,  because the word mercy is not found in Revelation. Stood before the judgment seat of God without the bill for our sin paid in full by his blood, will be a place of no mercy . And it’s interesting that the Bibles last mention of mercy is in the one page book of Jude. Just lines before you turn the page to Revelation.

 

V21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy on some who are doubting; save others snatching them out of the fire, and  on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.

 

Jude had his finger on the button just lines from Revelation. That we might not just know the mercy but show the mercy ‘ snatching ‘ them out of the fire . Maybe  that’s were we are now. Yet mercy come only with by a realisation that leads to repentance. The answer to our life or death problem has come at the great cost of Jesus the son of the right hand. A bill that we were never able to afford.