4/3 Daily in the Word

Mercy and Grace
Genesis 6:13-18

God's judgment is always preceded by God's mercy.

History has seen many mighty conquerors and military-minded people. Stories are told of men who led thousands of troops across the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America to claim new land for their empire or kingdom. Many times brutal force was employed to accomplish their goal. One man who saw his kingdom expanded through force was Napoleon I of France, who reigned from 1804-1814.

Napoleon's reign began by an overthrow of the current ruler, and his fighting didn't stop there. He led campaigns against the First and Second Coalitions, groups of European nations bent on overthrowing France's rule. Napoleon's attack on European superpowers even took on his name, the Napoleonic Wars. Later he also invaded Russia.

Yet despite his force when dealing with enemies, one story shows a more merciful side of Napoleon. A young man had been arrested for stealing from the royal palace twice. Sentenced to hang, the boy's mother sought mercy from Napoleon on behalf of her son. Napoleon answered the mother's plea, "This boy has stolen from my palace twice now; he deserves justice and that justice is death." The mother replied, "But I don't ask for justice, your highness. I seek mercy." "He does not deserve mercy," replied Napoleon. The mother passionately begged, "It would not be mercy if he deserved it." Touched by the mother's grief and passion, Napoleon consented and released the boy.

The boy's mother was right-mercy is not deserved, but freely given. You can't earn mercy, nor can you pay for it. Mercy is not receiving something you deserve (in the boy's case he deserved punishment, but Napoleon showed mercy in releasing him). Similarly, grace has been defined as freely receiving something that is undeserved. Another example of mercy and grace is found in Genesis 6.

The world deserved to feel the brunt of God's righteous judgment. The sinful lifestyle of earth's inhabitants earned them eternal punishment. Yet even in His righteous anger, God reached out to the people He created with a message of mercy and forgiveness. He promised that those who repent of their sin and trust Him would be saved from the coming punishment aboard the Ark.

Many people in our world would point to God's judgment of eternal separation for those who aren't saved and speak of a lack of love, but the truth is that even with God's judgment comes God's mercy. God sent His only Son to provide a way for people to be saved. God opens His arms to all sinners, anyone who will accept His gift, and promises them safe passage to Heaven if they will trust Him.

As we approach Easter tomorrow, take a moment to think about God's mercy and grace in your life. What has God given you that you did not deserve? What has He not given you that you did deserve? Never forget how God has blessed you, and remember to thank Him for His mercy and grace in your life.

Daily Bible Reading
Judges 19-21 | Luke 7:31-50

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