What is interesting about so many things in life is that the depth of our understanding of specific things is directly related to our insight about others. Let’s use a relatively simple example, light. Light can only be truly measured and understood through our knowledge of darkness. Let’s try another example; that is, the word hot. Try to describe it without any reference to cold…you can’t. At best, you would only be able to develop a shadow of its true nature. The same applies to our understanding of many biblical words.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end,
they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV
Today marks the first lesson of the new year and with it a new theme. As was noted in last week’s article, the text chosen is familiar with most of us simply because we sing it often. What strikes me as interesting are the words uttered in this text and sung with great enthusiasm. Words like faithfulness, steadfast and even love. Each of these words carry meaning but are often described outside the context of the verse. Doing so, although not intentional, limits the depth of our understanding. It is my hope in the weeks and months to come, that we can increase our understanding (in some cases, simply rekindle it) of these, and other words that have such powerful biblical significance.
I thought that today, we would begin with a word that is profoundly powerful; that is, mercy. How would you define it? Listen closely to this definition: compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. You may remember how Terry Schmidt defined mercy, “God NOT giving us what we deserve.” There it is! Mercy cannot be truly understood outside of understanding what one deserves. So, for us to grasp what Jeremiah was writing, to get an idea of what God’s mercy is truly like, we need to place it in the context of real life; that is, the events that moved him to pen these words.
I am convinced that if we allow ourselves to journey down these roads, the depth of our understanding of God will grow, along with, our awareness of how much we desperately need Him. May God be glorified and each of us enriched in 2019 so that His church can be strengthened, and the gospel can be proclaimed.