Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed. Joel 2:27
Does God bless us because He’s vain and insecure (and craves our worship)? Or is it some other reason? You can guess where I’m going. God blesses us because He’s God, because selfless blessing of others, even others who continually wrong Him, is His good nature.
Over the weekend, we held another Devotion by the Campfire. For the last few years, my wife and I have sponsored monthly seasonal Bible studies. Invitees watch a movie or TV show ahead of time, then we get together around a firepit to discuss the themes of faith in the show. At this week’s meeting, one of the participants shared his recent story (which I share with you by permission).
There was an event by his house, and many young people were rowdy & noisy. The man went next door to see what was happening, and while he was there, four partiers beat him severely. It was so severe that the neighbor called the police, who showed up and detained the four young men. Bleeding, bruised, and in great broken pain, the man was sitting in an ambulance when a policeman came up to him, asking him what charges he would press. His response? “No, let them go.”
The way he explained it, God put it on his heart that an arrest with assault charges would ruin the lives of his four guilty assailants. The better way was mercy, letting them go to contemplate what they’d done, what God, through their wounded target, had done for them.
Jesus said it best: “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” That and, “blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
I hope the four men can’t get this out of their minds. I sincerely hope it bothers them, that they wonder why someone would do such a thing. Their victim had them dead to rights, and in any other situation they’d go to jail. Their thug code of the street had merited arrest. Yet he didn’t press charges. Why? I honestly hope they think about this because eventually they’ll read the only logical conclusion possible. It was Jesus. It was this man’s faith in Jesus that spurred him to act as Jesus would, as Jesus did, showing mercy to people who didn’t deserve it. Their lives will change forever.
Does God bless us because He’s vain and craves adulation? No. God blesses us so that we will know Him as He wants us to know Him: the one true God, who is pure love, mercy, and justice.
For more reading: Exodus 6:7, Isaiah 44:8, Isaiah 45:17, Zephaniah 3:11, Matthew 5:7-9, Joel 2:28
Merciful Lord Jesus, thank You for acting out through this friend. Thank You for guiding him to show mercy. Thank You for being You.