Sermon On The Mount Devotional Blog 8

Sermon On The Mount Devotional

That Mercy Thing

Read Matthew 5:1-12 (focusing on vs. 7) (ESV)

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

I can remember a time, it seems like a long time ago, when one of my children had been caught in a sin and was standing before me awaiting his punishment. This was a common event in our house, as I am sure it was in yours growing up.

Previous to this, I wanted to demonstrate to my children the Godly principle of mercy, and so I had told them that I was going to take the punishment for them. Having said this, I spanked my own leg. With a startled look on his face, we had a wonderful conversation about how God placed onto His Son the punishment that we deserved, showing true mercy toward us.

Well, on this new day, punishment hanging in the balance, I asked my child what it was going to take for him to stop sinning in this way, a way he had acted out in repeatedly. With a thoughtful look on his face, and a tilted head, he said, “Well I don’t know about that punishment thing, but that mercy thing, now that really works!”  We all love mercy! 

This beatitude flows from the previous one. As we hunger and thirst after righteousness, longing to know the Lord and to grow in our dependence upon Him, we will naturally be changed. One writer called these next three beatitudes, the “beatitudes of action”.

The more we encounter Christ and begin to see the depth of our own sin, our own spiritual poverty and weakness, the more we will be moved by the sin and weaknesses of others. As we are moved by the brokenness of others around us, we will be moved to show mercy when we are sinned against. To be poor in spirit is a condition or state of our hearts that then propels us to action based upon the heart condition. How will you show mercy today? Is there someone whom you might serve, receiving nothing in return? This is truly an act of mercy, giving someone something that they do not deserve.

Christ, in the book of John, did just this. We read in John 6:10-13, “Jesus said, ‘Have the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.’ So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.”

What a wonderful act of mercy! See how the Lord cared for the people! He could have left them to their hunger, reasoning, “Their greater need is salvation. So, we will just seat everyone down and talk about spiritual things.” But He does care for our physical needs as well as our spiritual ones. We live in a physical world, with a physical component. Oftentimes He teaches about our spiritual needs through our physical ones. Philippians 4:19 reminds us, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

After eating their fill, what if the disciples had said, “Wow, we need to go and thank that little boy for providing this incredible meal!” and left it at that? That would have been strange since the meal was provided through God, using the means of a little boy. It is the Lord Who was to be truly thanked.  

What are some of the means that He provides for you: parents, grandparents, a good job, a difficult job, or gifts? How about your salvation? Did God provide loving, godly parents who daily shared the Gospel with you in their words and deeds and prayed all of your life for you? Perhaps the Lord provided a college roommate who shared the Gospel with you or a youth pastor or a friend who took the time to care for your soul. God uses means.

You are one of those means that God uses to provide for the needs of others. There may be someone in your life who needs the loving, compassionate mercy that you can provide. Perhaps you have forgiveness that someone is longing for. Perhaps you have time or an attentive ear that is needed.

So, What Now? How has the Lord called you to be used to meet the needs of those around you? First, for your own family? Your extended family or grandparents? How about for your neighbors? How about for the poor in your world? Overseas- in Africa, for example? See about gathering together with a few others this very week to see how you might serve someone around you less fortunate.