Return to Me… Mercy and Grace

16 Then those revering the Lordeach and every one, spoke among themselves. The Lord paid attention and listened to them. Then a scroll of remembrance was written before the Lord about those revering the Lord, the ones meditating on his name.
17 On the day that I am preparing, says the Lord of heavenly forces, they will be my special possession. I will spare them just as parents spare a child who serves them.
18  You will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between those serving God and those not serving him (Malachi 3:16-18, Common English Bible).

When I read the lesson for today my mind goes to a few other lessons. Verse 16, “Then those revering the Lordeach and every one, spoke among themselves. The Lord paid attention and listened to them. Then a scroll of remembrance was written before the Lord about those revering the Lordthe ones meditating on his name,” made me think of 2 Chronicles 7:14, “… if my people who belong to me will humbly pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” I do realize this isn’t quite the same the same thing. Still, the people are humbling themselves before God and the scroll of remembrance, at least to me, could be a written prayer on their part. I also think that when we “meditate on His name,” we are in prayer. As we read through the remainder of the lesson we can see evidence of mercy and grace, “I will forgive their sins and heal their land.”

When I read verse 17, “On the day that I am preparing, says the Lord of heavenly forces, they will be my special possession. I will spare them just as parents spare a child who serves them,” I thought about a passage that is the exact opposite from this verse. I thought about Genesis 18:23-33. This passage is Abraham begging God to not wipe out Sodom and Gomorrah and the destruction that followed in chapter 19 when God couldn’t find ten righteous people. Mercy and grace are part of God’s nature, even though none deserve it. But, mercy and grace do not remove the consequences of unrighteous behavior. But, if we choose the path of God, God will may us God’s “special possession” in spite of how we may have lived before. That is the very definition of mercy and grace.

Then there is verse 18, “You will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between those serving God and those not serving him.” The words “distinguish between,” make me think of The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats,” Matthew 25:31-46. In that passage, God separates (distinguishes) those who are righteous, those who serve God by serving others, from the unrighteous, those who fail to serve God and others, most likely because their focus is on themselves. The righteous receive mercy and grace, while the unrighteous receive eternal punishment.

The lesson makes the identity or the righteous, those who revere God and meditate on His name, very clear. For them, there will be an eternal reward.

I want to be among the righteous. Lord, have mercy.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

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