MERCY AND COVENANT

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

OUR THEME FOR 2016

(Part 14)

MERCY AND COVENANT

December 24, 2015

Today’s readings:

Psalm 89:2-29

Luke 1:67-79

God is faithful and merciful. As Ethan the Ezrahite proclaims: “mercy and faithfulness march before you.” (Ps 89:15b). In His faithfulness and mercy, He establishes a covenant with us, just as He did with David. “My mercy is established forever; my faithfulness will stand as long as the heavens. I have made a covenant with my chosen one” (Ps 89:3-4a).

God’s mercy affords us the forgiveness and blessings that we do not deserve. God’s faithfulness assures us that He will continue to be merciful, despite our transgressions and hardheartedness. This is what covenant is about. The Almighty and holy God enters into an intimate relationship with a sinful people. God binds Himself! “Forever I will maintain my mercy for him; my covenant with him stands firm.” (Ps 89:29). Thus did God relate to Abraham, and to David, and now to us. Zechariah prophesied: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and brought redemption to his people. …. to show mercy to our fathers and to be mindful of his holy covenant and of the oath he swore to Abraham our father” (Lk 1:68,72-73a).

How do we relate to such a God? We need to realize and appreciate the awesome mercy of God, how this brings us to salvation and growth in holiness. We repent of sin and turn to Jesus in faith. John the Baptist already showed the way, as he would “give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God” (Lk 1:77-78a). Because of God’s mercy, we can move from darkness to light, from death to life, from discord and disunity to peace. Thus “the daybreak from on high will visit us to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Lk 1:78b-79).

Because of God’s mercy, we move from sin to righteousness. From being estranged we draw ever closer to God. From being enslaved by the evil one, we are freed. From the worship of false idols, we come to worship of the one true God. Thus, “rescued from the hand of enemies, without fear we might worship him in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.” (Lk 1:74-75).

What is left for us to do? “I will sing of your mercy forever, Lord, proclaim your faithfulness through all ages.” (Ps 89:2).

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