By Brooke Holt
“Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” The Collect, Book of Common Prayer
Have you ever considered how tenacious the Lord has been in showing mercy to his people? In our Collect for today, we acknowledge that the Lord has sent prophets to warn his people of judgement, to call them to repentance, and to direct them in the way of salvation. Throughout the Old Testament, you can read warnings throughout every book of the Bible but especially in the books written by the prophets. Continually, God has spoken to his people and called them to faithfulness.
Why is God so patient and steadfast towards his people? Why does he give so many chances to turn from sin and to walk in the ways of the Lord? It is who he is. Just look at how the Collect addresses him – “Merciful God”. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines mercy as “compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power; a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion; compassionate treatment of those in distress.” Since the fall of Adam and Eve, God’s people have been desperate for his mercy as they continually dismiss his commandments, live in idolatry, and walk in their own ways.
And thanks be to God that his mercy is so abundant. Not only did he send the prophets but then he sent the greatest gift, his very own Son. Jesus came as the ultimate act of mercy from God. He knew you could never fulfill the commandments on your own. Jesus Christ came to redeem you by obeying every commandment and perfectly fulfilling the will of the Father. Jesus died a sinner’s death and took the penalty of sin upon himself that you could be free from that penalty.
Has there ever been such a great act of mercy shown to humankind? As you enter this second week of Advent, the question to consider is how you are responding to this mercy. The Collect prays that God’s people would turn from their sins, receive Jesus with great joy, and recognize that redemption is available through him. Repentance is the call of Advent – a turning away from sin and a turning towards the Lord.
Is God’s mercy shown to you in the person of Jesus leading you to repentance? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Our honest prayer before God is evidence that we understand the ways He loves, cherishes, sees, and hears us. Through prayer, we can acknowledge with Hagar, “You are the living One who sees me” (Genesis 16:14). When we pray, we are affirming the same. Why do we often hide from this privilege? Why do we avoid God, the One who sees us as we are and stands ready to provide and answer us in his holy, timely way? In this 8-week study on the prayers of Job, Ruth, Hannah, and David, grow your prayer life by facing your honest need and bringing your whole self before God. Acknowledging God as the One who guides your path can change your heart. It can take you past fear and into faith, strength, and hope. Learn more about Honest Prayer.
Comments will be approved before showing up.