March 26: Grace and Favor
Numbers 30:1–16; 1 Corinthians 12:12–13:13; Psalm 25:1–22
Usually when we seek someone’s goodwill, we emphasize our own winning traits or accomplishments. Our supervisor, significant other, or family members are barraged with a list of our actions in an attempt to get the other to respond in kind. Often this results in a tug-of-war mentality, basing all we deserve on what we give.
But our relationship with God doesn’t follow these rules. God’s mercy isn’t based on what we’ve done—it’s based entirely on His own goodness. The psalmist, realizing this, turns all of his attention to God’s mercy in Psa 25: “Remember your compassion, O Yahweh, and your acts of loyal love, because they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions. According to your loyal love, remember me if you will, for the sake of your goodness, O Yahweh” (Psa 25:6–7).
In this individual lament, the psalmist reaches out to Yahweh with a cry for forgiveness and guidance. Instead of justifying his actions to obtain Yahweh’s favor, the psalmist turns the focus to God’s works and His faithfulness in the past. What he deserves isn’t what he gets—something he is altogether thankful for.
God’s abundant graciousness extends far: from heaven down to earth, where Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sin. We can’t be thankful enough for that great act of mercy. It’s a reason for humility and thankfulness, as the psalmist expresses, and an act of faithfulness to us that we can never return. His mercy should completely transform our concept of what we deserve; it should alter us so much that we treat those around us not with expectations of who they should be for us, but with grace and love, as God treated us.
How are you extending God’s grace to the people around you?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- Then Moses spake unto the children of Israel according to all that the Lord had commaned him. Moses also spake unto the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded. Whosoever voweth a vow unto the Lord, or sweareth an oath to bind himself by a bond, he shall not break his promise, but shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth. If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father’s house, in the time of her youth, And her father hear her vow and bond, wherewith she hath bound herself, and her father hold his peace concerning her, then all her vows shall stand and every bond, wherewith she hath bound herself, shall stand. But if her father disallow her the same day that he heareth all her vows and bonds, wherewith she hath bound herself, they shall not be of value, and the Lord will forgive her, because her father disallowed her. And if she have an husband when she voweth or pronounceth ought with his lips, wherewith she bindeth herself, If her husband heard it, and holdeth his peace concerning her, the same day he heareth it, then her vow shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bindeth herself shall stand in effect. But if her husband disallow her the same day that he heareth it, then shall he make her vow which she hath made, and that that she hath pronounced with her lips, wherewith she bound herself, of none effect: and the Lord will forgive her. But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced (wherewith she hath bound herself) shall stand in effect with her. Numbers 30:1–16
- For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, which is one, though they be many, yet are but one body: even so is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews, or Grecians, whether we be bond, or free, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body also is not one member, but many. If the foot would say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear would say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were heairng, where were the smelling? But now hath God disposed the members every one of them in the body at his own pleasure. For if they were all one membes, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor the head again to the feet, I have no need of you. Yea, much rather those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary. And upon those members of the body, which we think most unhonest, put we more honesty on: and our uncomely parts have more comeliness on. For our comely parts need it not: but God hath tempered the body together: and hath given the more honor to that part which lacked, Lest there should be any division in the body: but that the members should have the same care one for another. Therefore if one member suffer, all suffer with it: if one member be had in honor, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, an members for your part. And God hath ordained some in the Church: as first Apostles, secondly Prophets, thirdly teachers, then them that do miracles: after that, the gifts of healing, helpers, governors, diversity of tongues. Are all Apostles? are all Prophets? are all teachers? Are all doers of miracles? have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But desire you the best gifts, and I will yet show you a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and Angels, and have not love, I am as sounding brass, or a tinklings cymbal. And though I had the gift of prophecy, and knew all secrets and all knowledge, yea, if I had all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and had not love, I were nothing. And though I feed the poor with all my goods, and though I give my body, that I be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing. Love suffereth long: it is bountiful: love envieth not: love oth not boast itself: it is not puffed up: It doth no uncomely thing: it seeketh not her own thing: it is not provoked to anger: it thinketh no evil: It rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth: It suffereth all things: it believeth all things: it hopeth all things: it endureth all things. Love doth never fall away, though that prophesyings be abolished, or the tongues cease, or knowledge vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophecy in part. But when that which is perfect, is come, then that which is in part shall be abolished. When I was a child, I spake as a child: I unerstood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass darkly: but then shall we see face to face. Now I know in part: but then shall I know even as I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, and love, even these three: but the chiefest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 12:12–13:13
- Unto thee, O Lord, lift I up my soul. My God, I trust in thee; let me not be confounded: let not mine enemies rejoice over me. So all t hat hope in thee, shall not be ashamed; but let them be confounded, that transgress without cause. Show me thy ways, O Lord, and teach me thy paths. Lead me forth in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation: in thee do I trust all the day. Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies, and thy lovingkindness: for they have been forever. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my rebellions, but according to thy kindness remember thou me, even for thy goodness sake, O Lord. Gracious and righteous is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. Them that be meek, will he guide in judgment, and teach the humble his way. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies: For thy Name’s sake, O Lord, be merciful unto mine iniquity, for it is great. What man is he that feareth the Lord? him will he teach the way that he shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease, and his seed shall inherit the land. The secret of the Lord is revealed to them that fear him: and his Covenant to give them understanding. Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord: for he will bring my feet out of the net. Turn thy face unto me, and have mercy upon me: for I am desolate and poor. The sorrows of mine heart are enlarged: draw me out of my troubles. Look upon mine affliction and my travail, and forgive all my sins. Behold mine enemies, for they are many, and they hate me with cruel hatred. Keep my soul and deliver me: let me not be confounded: for I trust in thee. Let mine uprightness and equity preserves me; for mine hope is in thee. Deliver Israel, O God, out of all his troubles. Psalm 25:1–22