“You shouldn’t have!”
When someone presents us with a gift we weren’t expecting or was way beyond the point of generosity, it catches us off guard.
Especially if the person from whom you receive it is not one you have the best relationship with.
When we receive mercy beyond what we expect, it is humbling and comforting at the same time. Mercy tells us that the relationship that was strained or broken is restored. It means things are good again.
God is a God of mercy. Israel had suffered greatly because of their sin and drifting or outright denial of God. Yet in this message of comfort God reminds them:
40 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
… that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
Commentators differ on what the meaning of this phrase is whether it is referring to the punishment for their sin was double or the mercy they experienced surpassed their sin. Due to the context of the flow of thought, I would side with the latter understanding. It is also in line with God’s character to allow his mercy to surpass our sin.
Romans 5:20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
It is also true that comfort comes when mercy surpasses sin.
There is no greater comfort than knowing that God’s mercy exceeds our sin. There is no greater miracle of grace that God would show mercy to sinful human beings. But that’s just who he is and is why he came to earth at Christmas.
His heart is bent on showing mercy. Consider Psalm 103:8-12:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
The Lord is certainly just and will punish sin. In fact, that’s what makes his mercy so much more amazing and the reality of Christ coming into the world at Christmas so mindblowing. The reality is God’s heart of mercy far surpasses the sin we commit. If it did not, we would always have to wonder if his mercy was used up on other people. But the fact that his mercy always surpasses sin leaves us with the very real comfort that there is plenty of mercy to go around this Christmas and every day.
Apply: How would God treat you if he treated you as your sins deserve? How does he treat you because of his mercy?
Prayer: Lord thank you for having a never ending well of mercy that you are more than willing to draw from and cover over all our sins.