New Life SDA Church

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Mercy in Marriage

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Scripture: For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.  Hosea 6:6 (NKJV)

Observation: This is one of the best known, most often quoted passages of the Old Testament.  The word Mercy (vs. 6) is the same word as that translated love or faithfulness in v 4.  It describes the steadfast love shown by God in His covenant with Israel. He does not want sacrifice in place of that type steadfast love; instead, He desires that Israel’s steadfast love should be the real thing.  In place of whole burnt offerings He would prefer  a genuine, deep personal relationship with Him.

Considering God Himself instituted sacrifices, this doesn’t mean that He did desired them that His people would stop offering them entirely, but rather that even in the Old Testament He valued moral obedience as the only end for which positive ordinances, such as sacrifices, were instituted—as of more importance than a mere external ritual obedience (1Sa 15:22; Ps 50:8, 9; 51:16; Ps 50:8, 9, Is 1:11, 12; Mic 6:6–8; Mt 9:13; 12:7).

Application: The marital relationship that follows God’s pattern should be one in which love, faithfulness, and mercy reign.  First of all LOVE, the giving of oneself completely to another person, the unselfish devotion to another, the decision to seek the best for the other person.  Secondly, FAITHFULNESS, which is the commitment to not betray the other person’s trust and to remain with them even when we may not “feel” like doing it.  And lastly, MERCY, which is accepting the faults of the other knowing they are no more perfect than we ourselves are.

Our relationship with God is reflected in our relationship with one another.  His desire is that we draw close to Him, that we love Him, that we remain faithful to Him, because the result of such relationship is that we we’ll be more loving to one another, faithful in our relationship with one another, and t hat we will extend mercy to one another.  To most of us, it is more natural to be judgmental of others, while excusing ourselves.  God’s order of things encourages us to look at ourselves before we look at the faults of others and to be merciful with others as God has been merciful with us.  That is what Jesus referred to when He said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.” Matthew 7:1-5 (NKJV)

A Prayer You May Say: Father, help me to be less judgmental and more merciful, especially with those closest to me.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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