Scripture Reading: Genesis 20:1-18
Key Verse(s): "Yes, I know you are innocent," God replied. "That is why I kept you from sinning against me; I did not let you touch her." (Genesis 20:6)
Abimelech had unknowingly taken a married woman to be his wife and was about to commit adultery. But God somehow prevented him from touching Sarah and held him back from sinning. What mercy on God's part! How many times has God done the same for us, holding us back from sin in ways we can't even detect? We have no way of knowing--we just know from this story that he can. God works just as often in ways we can't see as in ways we can.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 6:1-10
Key Verse(s): Have compassion on me, LORD, for I am weak. Heal me, LORD, for my body is in agony. (Psalm 6:2)
David accepted God's punishment, but he begged God not to discipline him in anger. Jeremiah also asked God to correct him gently and not in anger (Jeremiah 10:24). David recognized that if God treated him with justice alone and not with mercy, he would be wiped out by God's wrath. Often we want God to show mercy to us and justice to everyone else. God, in his kindness, forgives us instead of giving us what we deserve.
Scripture Reading: Zechariah 3:1-10
Key Verse(s): Jeshua's clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. So the angel said to the others standing there, "Take off his filthy clothes." And turning to Jeshua he said, "See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes." (Zechariah 3:3-4)
Zechariah's vision graphically portrays how we receive God's mercy. We do nothing ourselves. God removes our filthy clothes (sins), then provides us with new, clean, rich garments (the righteousness and holiness of God--2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 4:24; Revelation 19:8). All we need to do is repent and ask God to forgive us. When Satan tries to make you feel dirty and unworthy, remember that the clean clothes of Christ's righteousness make you worthy to draw near to God.
Scripture Reading: Luke 18:9-14
Key Verse(s): The tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, "O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner." I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For the proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored. (Luke 18:13-14)
The Pharisee did not go to the temple to pray to God but to announce to all within earshot how good he was. The tax collector went recognizing his sin and begging for mercy. Self-righteousness is dangerous. It leads to pride, causes a person to despise others, and prevents him or her from learning anything from God. The tax collector's prayer should be our prayer, because we all need God's mercy every day. Don't let pride in your achievements cut you off from God.