With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
I remember being a little kid and mimicking my father. Whenever we went to service I wanted to dress like him. I had to wear a tie because he wore a tie. I wanted to shine my shoes the way he shined his shoes. From a young age I consciously wanted to mold myself to reflect him. That was not always the case, especially once I entered adolescence, and that is telling. There was a time when I wanted nothing more than to please my father, and being like him was my way of doing that. Later in my defiant youthfulness I tried to be anything but the way he was. Today as an adult I see in myself some of the glimpses of him I tried to capture as a child.
This scripture discusses the methods by which one could try to please God. To enter his throne room and approach his face, to stand in his very presence, some might try to earn that spot. If we understand God, then we understand that mercy is what gives us entrance to that holy place. He wants not our sacrifices but our understanding of his grace. We should not even desire to earn our entrance there but should love the fact that God’s mercy alone makes the way for us. It pleases him for us to love mercy because it is a character trait of his that reflects him when we carry it. It tells him not only that we want to be like him but also that we want his grace to be what saves us and not the pride of trying to make ourselves worthy.
Allowing mercy to reign in our lives pleases God because the natural consequence is that we become more like him. Like the natural father who wants to be needed and be depended upon, God wants us to go to him instead of trying to make the way ourselves. Showing our need for him please him. Allowing his mercy to invade and make us more merciful pleases him. Reflecting his character to others pleases him. Being merciful as He is merciful pleases him. If we want to please God, let us love mercy as He loves it. Father, increase our understanding of the power and the need for your mercy that we would carry that character trait of yours in a way that pleases You.