Mercy Trumps Judgment
Today’s reading: I Chronicles 28-29; John 11:47-57
9 “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever. I Chronicles 28:9
49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. John 11:49-52
To know God is the supreme privilege and responsibility of mankind, full of promised blessings and grave warnings, but, in the end, the blessings purchased by Christ’s death are even greater than the warnings.
David, in turning over the kingdom to his son, Solomon, charged him to know and serve God. This was not merely good advice but an urgent mandate. Solomon would rule over God’s people, but they were God’s people not his. His leadership would affect the population and be either a credit or discredit to their God. The God that Solomon needed to know and serve is One who “searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought.” He cannot be manipulated or fooled. He knows not only the actions of all people but their hearts and thoughts as well. To fail in this mandate is to incur eternal judgment.
Caiaphas, was high priest of Israel in the days of Jesus’ final earthly ministry. He stood as the highest authority among the Jews who lived under a Roman governor. He, like Solomon, held an obligation to know and serve God, but he failed to see that the Son of God was among them making the Father known (John 1:18). He proposed to execute Him, but could not see that He was decreeing the offering of the Messiah, the true Passover Lamb, who would die for God’s elect people both in Israel and throughout the earth. His words had one meaning to him but another in reality. He prophesied inadvertently to the crucifixion and its significance for the world.
The God we are called to know and serve is One who rules all things and knows all things, including your heart and mind. That God “so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Now that we know Him, we also know we have failed Him, but He gives the promise of eternal life to all who believe. The promise of mercy trumps the warning of judgment (James 2:13b).