Let’s put this mercy in perspective so that we can fully appreciate it and respond to it. First of all, the Bible says in Proverbs 1:7 that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Just the beginning. What is the opposite of wisdom? Folly or, as we would call it today, foolishness. What is a person who possesses this characteristic? Yes, a fool. So, if we are not wise, we are fools. Or, we think we are wise but if we don’t take heed to the wisdom we think we have, we are fools. So, if we don’t fear- reverently and humbly acknowledge the sovereignty of Almighty God and submit to it- we are fools.
Whether we consciously think about the Ten Commandments or not, we know they are meant to be lived by and obeyed. Don’t steal. Don’t lie. Don’t murder. Don’t take God’s name in vain. Honor your father and mother. These are just some. Have you ever stolen anything? Then you’re a thief. Have you ever lied? Then you’re a liar. So we’re guilty of at least some of these, probably more- and more often than we realize, because each time we do it we become more and more desensitized to it.
If we were to come before a judge who would base our incrimination on just one of these counts of “guilty,” we would most certainly incur some sentence or fine. But to have done many, and to have done each more than once or continually, certainly bears a lengthy sentence. But if we were to find out that the Judge not only found someone to willingly and undeservedly pay the price of our cumulative sentences for us, we would be overwhelmed with amazement and dazzled with gratitude- not only to the One who took our place but also to the One who ordered Him to do it!! This is what Almighty God has done for us through Jesus Christ, mercifully, and we don’t even think of our guilt, the looming sentence or take hold of the hand who suffered in our place. God told the Israelites through Jeremiah and He tells us today,
13 “Only acknowledge your guilt,
that you rebelled against the Lord your God
and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree,
and that you have not obeyed my voice,
declares the Lord.
14 Return, O faithless children,
declares the Lord;
for I am your master;
I will take you, one from a city and two from a family,
and I will bring you to Zion.
15 “‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
This offer doesn’t last forever. Take hold of it now. Fear God. Walk away from your sins. Tremble and fear before the Creator of Heaven and earth, our Judge. Accept the mercy. Give thanks!