Bible Readings and Devotion for October 22, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for October 22, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Psalm 123 is a passionate prayer for God’s mercy. Verses 3 and 4 note the following, “Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. Our soul has had more than its fill of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.” The community of faith is praying that God show mercy on the people.
Grace and Mercy are prominent words in our faith. These are words we talk about a great deal in Christian circles, but what do these mean? Do these mean the same thing? What is the difference between Grace and Mercy?
Mercy is not getting what you deserve to get. For example, in the case that I have broken the law and I stand before the judge for the crime I have committed. The judge speaks to me and says, “The sentence for this crime is five years in prison, but I will not convict you. You are free to go.” What has just happened is that I have just received mercy. Mercy is not getting what you deserve.
Grace is getting what you do not deserve. I do not deserve eternal life in the presence of God. Nothing I, or any of us, could ever do for God would be enough. The 10 Commandments are not meant as a means to earn God’s favor. These are simply a framework for a faithful response to the mercy and grace of God. Even if the Ten Commandments were designed as a way to earn God’s favor, no one has lived these out perfectly all the days of one’s life. We simply can not earn eternal life. I have life with God by his grace. So remember, Mercy is not getting what we do deserve for a wrong. Grace is getting the good thing which we do not deserve.
When the Lord does everything to seek us out, it is for our benefit. On one side, we receive mercy in that he does not leave us to our own devices. God bring us Christ Jesus, and with Christ we get to live with God, and we do not pay the eternal consequences of our sin and wrongdoing. Rather, God seeks us out and intervenes through Jesus’ death on the cross and his glorious resurrection from the dead. God redirects the results of sin, and we do not have to live without him for eternity.
God’s grace is that we are offered eternal fellowship with our creator God, and that we have not done anything to deserve it. God’s grace is that we get to know of his awe-inspiring love. We can not earn it, nor do we deserve it. God’s grace and mercy come at the right time and for us when we need it the most. We are reminded in another of Paul’s writings when he says in Romans chapter 5, verse 6, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”
As our prayer we have the words of the hymn, “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy.”
1 There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
like the wideness of the sea;
there’s a kindness in God’s justice
which is more than liberty.
There is no place where earth’s sorrows
are more felt than up in heav’n.
There is no place where earth’s failings
have such kindly judgment giv’n.
2 There is welcome for the sinner,
and a promised grace made good;
there is mercy with the Savior;
there is healing in his blood.
There is grace enough for thousands
of new worlds as great as this;
there is room for fresh creations
in that upper home of bliss.
3 For the love of God is broader
than the measures of our mind;
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
But we make this love too narrow
by false limits of our own;
and we magnify its strictness
with a zeal God will not own.
4 ‘Tis not all we owe to Jesus;
it is something more than all:
greater good because of evil,
larger mercy through the fall.
Make our love, O God, more faithful;
let us take you at your word,
and our lives will be thanksgiving
for the goodness of the Lord.
Hymn Text: Frederick W. Faber, 1814-1863, alt.