God's Mercy

Bible Reading: Isaiah 64:5-9

We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

When it comes to asking God to remove our shortcomings, we probably either feel like a professional sinner who is the scum of the earth and has no right to ask anything from him, or we feel like we're one of the godly ones, who sins occasionally (everybody does) but always tries to live a good life.

The prophet Isaiah said, "You [God] welcome those who gladly do good, who follow godly ways. But you have been very angry with us, for we are not godly. We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved? We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind. Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy. Therefore, you have . . . turned us over to our sins. And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand" (Isaiah 64:5-8).

Those of us who feel like the "bad guys" may not call on God because we still feel disqualified. If we do call on God, we have the advantage of recognizing our need for God's mercy. Those of us who feel like a "good guy" probably call on God often, and pride ourselves for doing so. The obstacle for us is that we may not plead for God's mercy, because we're not convinced we really need it. We all need to humbly plead for God's mercy. When we do, he can reshape us, leaving our shortcomings out of the formula.

God rejects us when we come brandishing our "good works"; he accepts us when we come seeking his mercy.