Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | April 3, 2016

April 3, 2016 “The Stuff You Don’t Deserve”

“We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! ” (Daniel 9: 18-19)

Good Morning and Blessed Lord’s Day to Everyone!

I heard a story some years ago about a boy who came to his dad with a question. “Dad“, the boy asked, “Do you think it’s right for someone to be punished for something they didn’t do?” “Of course not.” said dad. “Why do you ask?” The boy answered, “I’m sure glad to hear you say that, because I didn’t do those chores you told me to do!”  Though this may strike us as being rather amusing, we know it is all too true as it relates to our own relationship with God. Daniel, who made the prayer to God that heads today’s post, was a man of prayer and highly esteemed for living a life of righteous behavior. But even he, as he approached his Holy Lord in prayer, did so with humility and confession. In this passage, he prays, “We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.” Daniel’s prayer is a prayer for God’s mercy…not for God’s help. He made such a prayer because he knew that it was the punishment of God that was deserved, rather than forgiveness. When God sends His help, it is not because it is earned or merited or deserved, but because God is merciful and loving and forgiving. Suppose God were to refuse to help us because of our disobedience…would we have a right to complain? Not at all…no more so than the boy in the story who failed to do his chores.  But when God chooses to be merciful when it is punishment we deserve, how is it that we sometimes withhold our praise and thanksgiving? God’s mercy is “unmerited favor.”  Joyce Meyer speaks of the mercy we show others very simply and directly:

“Mercy is the stuff you give to people that don’t deserve it.” 

If we who are less than perfect can show mercy to those who are undeserving, how much more so can we trust a loving, gracious God to show mercy to us, who are never deserving? And when we pray for mercy and receive it, the appropriate response is humble thanksgiving. “Lord listen! Lord forgive! Lord, hear and act!” Let’s pray!

Merciful God; Our prayers to you are not made because we are righteous, but because you are merciful! In your great mercy, we are made the Righteousness of God because You are righteous and merciful. Lord, listen as we pray. lord, hear and act as we cry out to You. Lord, hear and act on our behalf. This we ask in Jesus Righteous and Holy Name. Amen!

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