Thursday, October 07, 2010

Misreading Mercy?

As we get into Amos 2 this week, we will look at God’s words to his own people, the covenant people of Judah and Israel.  Whereas last week’s message (in Amos 1) focused on God’s sovereignty over all the nations, this week’s message focuses on what God has to say to His own people.

The major theme that keeps reoccuring as I study Amos 2 is how the people of Israel misread the mercy of God.  God had done many wonderful things on their behalf over the years, but they had not learned from that what God wanted them to see.  I will go into more detail about this Sunday, but it seems like we also struggle with how to understand the mercy of God.  Here’s two common ways that I see in myself and others…

1. We can misread mercy as indifference.  I mentioned this briefly on Sunday.  We can sometimes read God’s patience with us and His blessings on us as though He doesn’t care about the sin that we commit.  Many people I interact with seem to have this view of life – God’s favor toward me simply shows that He doesn’t care how I live.  If He did care about my sin, He wouldn’t have blessed me so richly.

2. We can also misread mercy as worthiness.  In this view, all of God’s blessings on my life are signs of how awesome I am.  God is simply agreeing with me by demonstrating how great I am to the world.  His favor in my life is not undeserved – it is deserved.  I am a good person and take care of others and give money to those in need and that is why God is so good to me.  God’s blessings are an affirmation of God being pleased with my performance.

We’ll take a look at these in more depth on Sunday, but right now I’m curious if you see these beliefs in your own life.  How else do you think we misread the mercy of God in our lives?