Day 46: Mercy Towards the Undeserving

Read: Romans 9:14-18

        One of the surprising places I have seen undeserved mercy displayed is in the Biblical Hebrew class for which I am the teacher’s assistant. My job is to check the quizzes completed by students and to give each one a grade. Quite frequently, I see students making mistakes that would have been easily corrected if they had just paid attention and put in any effort to do the work assigned. In my opinion, these students deserve a poor grade.

        However, the professor who teaches the class has a very merciful grading scale, which means the consequences for wrong answers are very low, and the student gets away unscathed. When I see this act of mercy, I often react negatively, “Injustice! They’ll never learn if they’re not held accountable!” I find myself unwilling to accept the professor’s decision to offer mercy.

Yet, the choice of mercy is not unjust as I sometimes think. I think the professor wants his students to come away with a love for the Hebrew language rather than just worry about their grades. He shows mercy based on his greater plan for his class, one that I don’t always have in mind while I’m grading quizzes.

So we could ask ourselves: Is God’s choice of a true Israel according to promise unjust? It is not, and Paul tells us why. The reason is that His sovereign choice is an act of mercy according to His grand plan for salvation.

In Romans 9:14-18, Paul mentions two Old Testament examples of God’s sovereign choice. In the first example, Paul mentions Exodus 33:19 where the Lord tells Moses that He will have mercy on whomever He chooses. Then he mentions Exodus 9:16, where the Lord tells Pharaoh the purpose for His sovereign choice was to display His glory to the entire earth. By mentioning these examples, Paul is showing that God’s sovereign choices are acts of mercy made for an important purpose: to fulfill His great plan for history.

God’s mercy displays His love for us, and we do not deserve it. We are like the students in the Hebrew class whose quizzes I grade. They deserve a far worse grade than what they’re actually given. Yet the only reason they don’t get penalized is the mercy of the professor who cares for far more than just the grade they receive.

Have you ever seen someone receive mercy they did not deserve? Perhaps a sibling or friend who managed to avoid a punishment they deserved? Think of the things in your life that should disqualify you from being chosen by God, and then thank God and praise Him for choosing you anyway.

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