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Mercy or Judgment?

Daily Reading: Genesis 38


Scripture Focus: Then Judah identified them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” (Genesis 38.26)

Devotional Thought: After you get past the Old Testament principle of Levirate marriage (a form of social and family security that included "marrying" your brother's widow so she could have children...), Genesis 38 is a commentary on not being judgmental.

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to get harder treatment for moral lapses than do others? Why are some students applauded for threats of violence on college campuses while others are vehemently accused of shutting down discourse? I don't think it's a double standard that drives this. I think it is because of higher standards. Those who testify to higher standards are expected to comport themselves in a decent, ethical and moral way. Those who do not claim the need for ethical consistency are not held to those stricter standards.

Judah was one of those righteously indignant people in the Old Testament. He testified to the need for moral standards that he himself did not keep. When his son's widow tricked him into sleeping with her (Judah thought she was a prostitute) and she became pregnant, Judah was the first to call for her death! There was a problem, however. Judah was the father of the child! At least Judah had the good sense to repent and desist. I wish today's politicians would do the same, but they just double down when caught in moral inconsistencies. In the words of a former senator, "We won, didn't we?"

When a sinful lady was brought before him for judgment, Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8.7) May God give us grace to recognize our own faults before we pronounce judgment on another. Remember, "Mercy triumphs over judgment!" (James 2.13)

Prayer: Father, thank you for your mercy shown to me. When I am tempted to judge and condemn, may I look within and see how the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me! Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. 2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. 4 Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! 5 You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told. 6 In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. 7 Then I said, "Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: 8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart." (Psalms 40:1-8)


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